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Solidarity from New Zealand for Waterford Workers Occupying Factory
waterford | worker & community struggles and protests | feature Friday January 30, 2009 23:48 by Joe Carolan - Socialist Aotearoa solidarityjoe at yahoo dot com 0064211861450
Following the successful factory occupation of Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago, the workers of Waterford Glass now show the way to fight redundancies and lay offs. In a year where it is estimated that up to 50 million workers are due to lose their jobs, and banks continue to be propped up with billions of dollars and euro, we need to demand that companies are nationalised and jobs defended.
The Direct Action by the Waterford Workers now puts it up to the Irish government- who is more important, workers and their families or the tiny financial elite of the banks?
Nationalise the Glass, and let the workers run the factory. They'd do a better job of it.
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Has anyone heard the lates on the happenings at Waterford Glass today?
Starting to get news of critical developments at Waterford Glass?
Certainly need of more info for activists and those on the left.
Ideas on support positions to take what can be of use on a practical basis.
Probably needs a lot of discussion (not off point) and consideration.
The basic news is that Workers at Waterford Chrystal have been told the place is shutting down. A few hundred have occupied / sat down in the workplace. They had been told that production would continue, with the company in recievership, for as long as there was a possibility of another company taking over the plant.
A door got smashed somehow. There are elected reps from SF taking part in the sit-in I believe. If ppl get on the phones they could get information and demands into the public sphere. You can bet your bottom dollar RTE etc won't be making that a priority.
Over 200 workers at Waterford Wedgwood are staging a sit-in at the factory this evening after the receiver announced that production will cease today.
The Waterford Crystal factory's unionized workers discovered their fate Friday when the afternoon shift was blocked from entering the factory. They tried to force their way in past private security guards who were reinforced this month at the plant to deter labor unrest.
Witnesses said one worker was cut during scuffles, and at least one plate-glass window was shattered, before police intervened to separate the two groups. Some workers got into the building during the melee and joined comrades from the day shift who were refusing to leave.
it was lead story on RTE
I also bet union bosses and political representatives as opposed to actual workers got all the airtime?
on the main story it was caotic and individual workers were stopped and said there piece. later on jimmy keely of unite who i think is a former worker there did a live broadcast interview
Is there anyone planning a show of support for the crystal workers at the plant? I would definitely come along either saturday or sunday if there is anything going on.
"Fuck me the velocity of this thing is frightening.
Unemployment and job losses are astounding. What's really freaking me out is that big players are evaporating fast
Waterford is goobered, totally. i've been there a lot and its not big enough to loose that much wage income.
Same for Limerick,
I think of my gaff, where 300 ish workers have vapourised slowly over the last few months, no single number big enought o make the news, and i suspect that is the same throughout the country, its the ones and the two's loosing jobs, which are the real meat in the unemployment figures.
House prices now, must be due for a total collapse, given the abillity of people to service debt. or even there abillity to aquire credit (which i doubt)
The car industry is going up in smoke, stories of dealers stockpilling cars in fields are frequently retold
Commercial property has to implode, i see LOADS of it empty. Our place would downsize if we could find somebody to rent our building (we own it) but nobody is intrested.
We have deep Social and political tensions appearing in Irish fabric. people are deeply mistrustfull of the government, the unions are (by the sounds of things) dictating public policy, and the PS is hell bent on Pay rises when all around are loosing jobs.
Our cost of living is being shown for the tragedy it is. We are WAAAAAY to expensive to compete on any international stage, and the cost difference between our closest neighbours is bordering on suicidal.
Sterling has devalued massivly against our euro and there is shag all we can do about it.
jeysus, i'm just stunned by it all. the situation in waterford defies belief, i thought things could'nt get any worse, but daily it does. its incredible, and i bet all of our living relatives have not seen such a rapid and deep deterioration.
finally, whilst we may be at the top of the "most fucked country in europe league". we are not alone in our degredation.
The uk is fuked, de-facto bancrupt
The US is fucked, saddled with mindnumbing amounts of debts
In fact the whole world, from china, to asia, to europe is buggered so our normal escape routes are locked
i do not have the economic insight of many on this board, but i'm shitting it. i see no easy way out of this. and i do not see any viable solutions in the short or medium term.
Revolution is never without pain."
Extract: "The reasons for the collapse of the government and the discussion about it show very well what today’s politics are about. Sjálfstæðisflokkurin (The Independence Party, right wing conservatives) refused to fire Davíð Oddsson from the board of the Central Bank, because of his fearsome hold on the society. Even though he is hidden in the Central Bank, he still sits on the top – or at least sat there before the collapse - of Icelandic authorities and no one is allowed to alter with him or his opinions. Fearing the impact of firing Oddsson from the Central Bank, the Independence Party could do nothing. Therefore it is going to be extremely interesting to see if a new government will dare to fire Oddsson and what impact it will have on the Icelandic society, since it is clear the Oddsson has a serious blackmailing force in Iceland."
Statement from Icelandic Anarchists
I work in a bar pretty close to the factory, a lot of the workers drink there. What I know so far is that the workers are taking it in 6 hour shifts to keep the sit-in going at the factory. I have no idea how negotiations are going or even if there are any. The workers were blocked entry to the building earlier by a private security company that had to be brought in from Dublin because none of the local companies would do it. A glass door was smashed when one of the workers pushed a member of the security company into it.
Apparently, at about 2.45 today they were called to the car park outside the building for a supposed meeting with their union. As soon as they stepped outside, the doors were closed and locked behind them be management. Private security were subsequently brought in to prevent workers from entering by force. Supposedly, trucks were brought in to remove any finished goods from the premises to stop workers from taking them as means of compensation. As it stands, the vast majority (90%) of the workers are set to lose their jobs, redundencies and pensions (including what they paid into them themselves).
Please note: Waterford Trades Council is leading a protest today at the car park of the Visitors Centre Waterford Crystal at 1pm.. They are calling on everyone to come out and show solidarity with the workers. Hopefully there will be a good crowd.
Independent Workers Union sends solidarity message to Waterford Crystal workers
Solidarity with Waterford Crystal workers
Noel Murphy, National Secretary of the Independent Workers Union, has sent a messages of solidarity to representatives of the Waterford Crystal workers protesting against their arbitrary treatment and dismissal by the company owners. Noel commended the workers on their courage and for having the determination to take this initiative at a time when others in the trade union movement appear unable to offer any form of determined resistance to the one sided approach by government and employers to the current economic crisis.
" The state is happy to bail out bankers and overlook huge riches remaining with those who plundered the national wealth through the Celtic Tiger years but endorses the impoverishing of working men and women through abrupt redundancies" the IWU National Secretary said.
"The people occupying this plant are highly skilled craftsmen with a proven ability to manufacture an excellent product and should be helped to continue production under workers' management. I would call on working people everywhere, that in the event of Waterford Crystal workers deciding to manage the business, to consider supporting their efforts by making a special effort to buy their product. Sporting trophies, wedding gifts, anniversaries etc are times when we could opt for this product." Mr Murphy concluded.
Tough times for many, solidarity to those in occupation and all in support, regards from Barcelona.
Perhaps a little story might inspire and offer HOPE, that a better future is possible, and worth fighting for...
Can anyone organise a little film screening for the workers in occupation, about an occupation that happened for similar reasons, time of crisis "need" to sack the workers etc, but with a little difference, they occupied their plant in Argentina, continued production and were actually more productive....
and from Democracy Now!
Occupy, Resist, Produce: New Documentary “The Take” Takes on Globalization
click on link to watch film interview with directors about the situation
http://www.democracynow.org/2004/9/20/occupy_resist_pro...y_the September 20, 2004
and new in, to offer more HOPE...
from The Take Official website
Major Victory for Worker Recovered Factory - Jugoremedija in Serbia
Dear comrades, allies, and supporters,
A major victory for worker's rights and struggles in Serbia has been won following a 9 month factory occupation and a 2 and a half year strike by the workers of Jugoremedija in Zrenjanin, Serbia. On December 14, 2006, the Belgrade Higher Economic Court reaffirmed the June 2006 ruling of the Zrenjanin Economic Court that the recapitalization of the Zrenjanin-based pharmaceutical factory Jugoremedija be repealed because it was carried out illegally through the illegitimate manoeuvres of businessman Jovica Stefanovic Nini to attempt to gain majority ownership. This means that the ownership of the workers has now been restored to their rightful 58% of the company shares. With this decision, Jugoremedija is set to become the first factory amongst the "transition" countries in Eastern Europe undergoing neoliberal privatization to be recovered and controlled by its workers.
The worker - shareholders have called for a shareholders assembly for December 30th at the Jugoremedija premises, in order to appoint a new board and management. But Jovica Stefanovic Nini, who remains owner of 42% of the factory, is now obstructing the enforcement of the Court's decision and attempting to block the assembly by force. On the same day that the workers sent him an invitation letter to attend the assembly, Stefanovic rehired the same private security forces that provoked the incident in August 2004 while the workers were occupying and protecting the factory premises, which led to the intervention of the Serbian police that forcibly expelled the workers from their factory.
Stefanovic has not yet formally responded to the invitation to attend the assembly, but the fully armed private army now stationed around the factory stands as a clear answer.
The workers are determined to go through with the December 30th assembly. This will be the first time they enter their factory in over two years, after they were forcibly evicted by Serbian police and Stefanovic's private army in August 2004, and then replaced by new employees. In June of 2006, following the lower court decision repealing the illegal recapitalization of Jugoremedija was reached by the Zrenjanin Court, Vladimir Pecikoza, a leader of the Union of Jugoremedija, made assurances on Serbian national television that there will be no revenge or retaliation taken against the workers who have been working for Stefanovic once the workers-shareholders take back their factory.
Association of Worker-Shareholders of Serbia
This post is also found on Z net: http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/18152
Occupy! Resist! Produce! Argentina has done it...
Occupy! Resist! Produce! Serbia has done it...
Watch film here, download, take lap top to factory occupation, or get the Gaza film on Israeli embassy crew to screen on the factory... looker on-ers, boss`s, cops etc also might learn a thing or 2...
Click on audio link at end to listen to audio MP3 version of Democracy now interview with film makers of the film about the situation in Argentina, this can be copied and played on I-pods, phones, cds can be made for home sterios, car stereos etc...
spread word, spread the idea of whats possible...
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did anything happen today? how did the solidarity protest go?
The Starry Plough now flies over Waterford Glass. Thousands attended the protest in very bad weather (RTE).
Who is the private security firm operating from Dublin that are being used at Waterford Crystal? Perhaps some sort of protest could be organised outside their offices?
View RTE tv footage here:
Staff protest over Waterford Crystal closure
Friday, 30 January 2009 23:15
There have been angry scenes at the Waterford Crystal plant in Kilbarry after staff were told the company was shutting down.
A statement from the receiver, David Carson of Deloitte, confirmed that 480 of the 670 employees have been made redundant.
The company said this evening that around 190 staff in the manufacturing section would continue to be employed.
RTE: Meeting today over Waterford Crystal
Saturday, 31 January 2009 16:45
A meeting is due to take place later at a city centre location in Dublin to try to resolve the situation at Waterford Crystal.
Trade union officials from Waterford are travelling up this afternoon and will be meeting with David Begg, General Secretary of ICTU, Dermot McCarthy, secretary to the Taoiseach and other Government representatives.
The receiver, David Carson, has told the trade union officials he will attend that meeting.
Sleeping bags and blankets were brought in, as were food parcels, most of which were donated locally.
An estimated 2,000 people have attended a rally in support of the Waterford Crystal workers.
The occupation of the factory is continuing and a flag depicting the starry plough has been raised on the main flag pole at the Visitor Centre.
Crisis meeting takes place amid Waterford sit-in
Saturday, January 31, 2009, 16:11
PATRICK LOGUE and BARRY O'HALLORANMembers of the public held a rally at the Waterford Crystal plant in Kilbarry today to support workers who are staging a sit-in after the receiver closed it down yesterday.
The gathering came as a crisis meeting is held in Dublin after the receiver announced unexpectedly yesterday afternoon that manufacturing would cease immediately with the loss of 480 jobs out of a 708-strong workforce.
Over 200 staff there began a sit-in at the Kilbarry, Waterford site yesterday in the wake of his announcement. Today, workers are operating a rota system with up to 100 people remaining in the plant at any given time.
Members of the public had been asked to turn out at the factory at 1pm to support the workers.
Angry scenes greeted the news that the plant was closing. Workers attempted to enter its visitors’ centre and occupy it and scuffled with four security men. It is understood that one was knocked against a glass panel in the main door which shattered. But calm was quickly restored and workers began their sit in.
flag: The Starry Plough, flag of the Irish Citizen Army
CURIOUS JOURNEY: An Oral History of Ireland’s Unfinished Revolution,
WSM essays of interest:
1916, left republicanism, anarchism and class struggle in the south
The Starry Plough, flag of the Irish Citizen Armym flies in Waterford tonight
Quite similar to the issues of both Shannon and Tara, Irish activists need to think outside of the box of Ireland and tell the world their story.
DailyKos.com is the biggest Liberal/Progressive website in the USA - and is highly influential in many political and media spheres.
Tonight I found a story by 'kentuckydave' using only BBC news sources to explain the story of the Waterford Crystal Factory take-over to an American (and Irish-American) audience.
Perhaps Waterford Crystal activists of Ireland need to write good articles here on indymedia explaining the basics, then start using sites like DailyKos and others like it to link back for more info.
There is an audience beyond Ireland's shores - and they are interested.
an activist's tool for Shannon, Tara and Waterford Crystal
The meeting aimed at resolving the stand-off at Waterford Crystal has ended.
David Begg from ICTU said little progress had been made and the position has not changed.
A People Before Profit Alliance activist meeting, today, sent a message of support to Waterford Crystal workers, occupying the company's Kilbarry plant since Friday.
Speaking live from Dublin by phone link to representatives from the Unite Union, Eddie Conlon of the People Before Profit Alliance, conveyed the support of the activist meeting of around 100 activists to the workers of Waterford Crystal.
Support the workers, not the bankers!
"Speaking live from Dublin by phone link to representatives from the Unite Union, Eddie Conlon of the People Before Profit Alliance, conveyed the support of the activist meeting of around 100 activists to the workers of Waterford Crystal."
What? You mean Eddie gave the workers an auld ring on his mobile phone to let them know that PBP support their efforts? And? Is there any leftist group that isn't offering support and solidarity to the Waterford Glass workers? Boiled down, the PBP 'comment' above is just self-advertising in which they're puffing themselves up by standing on the backs of the Waterford workers. It doesn't matter whether Jimmy Kelly (UNITE and SWP) endorses this (why wouldn't he??), it's still self-promoting opportunism not solidarity.
Fair play to the Waterford Glass workers! Let's support them down to the wire, but for fcuks sakes can we avoid the typical radical left behaviour where real distress is used to promote particular brand names?
"A crowd of about 2,000 people attended a rally in support of the workers at lunchtime. In a show of solidarity, taxi drivers across the city switched off their engines and some businesses stopped work between 1pm and 2pm."
what can we do in Dublin to help?
Fair Play to the workers in Waterford Glass for this initiative.
They are all linked by the fallout from Bank of America Takeover of Merril Lynch (Some of whom advise the Irish Government). Hell even Obama is in there somewhere supporting an occupation.
Trade union officials have been addressing a meeting of around 700 Waterford Crystal employees and former staff on developments regarding the company's future.
The FEE (Free Education for Everyone) campaign sends messages of solidarity and support to the occupation at Waterford crystal, from its national meeting this weekend. This action is an inspiration to all of us.
The FEE (Free Education for Everyone) campaign sends messages of solidarity and support to the occupation at Waterford crystal, from its national meeting this weekend. This action is an inspiration to all of us.
NUI Maynooth activists from the Free Education for Everyone campaign will be marching behind a banner of solidarity with the Waterford workers this Wednesday, calling for workers and students to stand firm and together in the coming times. The banner reads:
"STUDENTS UNITED WITH WORKERS FOR JUSTICE
BRAVO WATERFORD! from FEE Maynooth"
The workers in Waterford are an inspiration to us as student workers, many of whom have lost our jobs in recent times, and others who work in very precarious situations and who could become jobless at any stage. FEE NUIM calls on all students to take to the streets this Wednesday, and encourages all who support us to do the same! Only mass-mobilisations scare the government. Follow the lead of the Waterford workers, the Dublin bus drivers, the senior citizens and others and show we still have some fight in us.
Our incomes, our education, our rights- all under attack. We second the call of support from the FEE national conference last Saturday for the Waterford workers and hope they know their struggle is supported by the vast majority of the Irish people who find great hope and inspiration in their actions.
RTE- Protest in support of Waterford workers
watch Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Around 6,000 people have taken part in a demonstration in Waterford city in support of the 480 Waterford Crystal workers who were laid off last Friday.
A number of workers are continuing to occupy the company's Visitor Centre for a sixth day.
http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0204/waterford.html includes TV report
IRISH TIMES- Union leader at Waterford believes plant can be saved
Thursday, February 5, 2009
UNION LEADERS representing workers at Waterford Crystal last night remained confident that a deal can be done to save the plant and secure pension entitlements for former workers as over 6,000 marched through Waterford in support of the workforce.
IMC-IE- Waterford Crystal Workers Occupy Deloitte head Office in Dublin
SWP TV: Waterford Crystal workers occupy the head office of Deloitte and Touche in Dublin
Ill leave you with a tune of resistance, from the sunny south east of Brazil to the now not so sunny South East, from the Brazilian Thrash metal band, Sepultura:
lyrics here: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/s/sepultura/refuseresist_201....html
The Workers, United, Will Never Be Defeated
Caption: Video Id: rcJ754slNNE Type: Youtube Video
Embedded video Youtube Video
How have things panned out in Waterford?
Did the occupiers ever get to see "The Take"? if so what were their impressions, were they inspired, could similar strategies be built up in ireland? Are similar bottom up movemtents starting to grow? Can we learn from Argentina?
Regards from Barcelona
Fire the Boss: Naomi Klein & Avi Lewis on “The Worker Control Solution from Buenos Aires to Chicago”
Shock Doctrine author Naomi Klein and Al Jazeera host Avi Lewis discuss the workers who are taking over their factories and plants rather than lose their jobs, some to owners who owe money to bailed-out banks. They also address the latest news in the nation’s global economic collapse amidst the White House and Democratic-led Congress’s rejection of single-payer healthcare.
AVI LEWIS: Well, I mean, as much as financial bailouts and financial crisis gets covered, we get unemployment numbers, we get fewer faces, but the crisis is people are losing their jobs in staggering numbers around the planet. And we’re starting to see the kind of pushback and the kind of worker fight back that we saw in Argentina after the economic crash there and that led to a whole new movement of worker-run businesses.
I’ve been tracking some of these developments, and many of them will be familiar to your viewers and listeners. But just so you know, in Argentina just in the last four months, they’ve had more worker takeovers of businesses in the last four months than they had in the previous four years. And this is the country which is the leader in worker takeover of the means of production.
In the UK, you have the Visteon auto plant, which was—there were three plants spun off from Ford in 2001. The workers there got six minutes’ notice that their workplaces were closing. I mean, the Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago, they got a few days. They got six minutes in Visteon. So, hundreds of workers did a sit-in on the roof of their plant. They were hard bargaining for about ten weeks. They ended up with a severance offer that was ten times what they were initially offered. So that’s a huge victory, although there’s still a lot of mistrust between the workers and the equity fund, which they’re negotiating with, so they’re not over there.
The famous Waterford Crystal plant in Ireland, by Wedgwood China, owned by Wedgwood China, was occupied by seven weeks earlier this year. It had been taken over by a US private equity firm. So there’s a lot going on in Europe around the foreign takeover of their production capacity.
I mentioned in Canada there have been auto plant occupations.
In France, there’s been this wave of bossnappings, where workers have been holding their bosses hostage in the workplace after seven takeovers.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Definitely don’t get that out. Don’t get that publicized.
AVI LEWIS: Well, you know, but the thing is, it’s France, so, for instance, when they held the chief executive of the plant in—the 3M plant in France, they brought him moules et frites, they brought him mussels and French fries for dinner. So there’s—you know, there’s a level of civilization in the bossnappings there. But Caterpillar and Sony and Hewlett-Packard and other multinational corporations have faced this bossnapping technique.
And then we have in Poland, just this week, the largest coal coking producer in all of Europe. Thousands of workers bricked up the entrance to the company headquarters, because their wages had been cut.
And then we’ve seen Republic here in the United States and the Hartmarx story, this famous legendary suit maker that’s been in business more than 120 years. They made Obama’s suit that he wore on election night in Chicago. They made his tuxedo that he wore for some of the inauguration balls. And they are now facing bankruptcy at the hands of Wells Fargo, which has received $25 billion of public money.
So we see this dynamic playing out in different ways in different countries, but there’s no question that there’s an international wave of pushback. And the question is, where is it going? What forms will it take? And how do we talk about it in a way that formulates it as constructive alternatives to this economic crisis that are coming from below, because the bailouts have all been top-down?