Friday, May 29, 2009

Workers' Fightback: Update 4

Workers at the Swansea Linamar car parts plant have voted for an all-out indefinite strike, in support of their sacked union convenor Rob Williams. Williams was originally sacked one month ago, after an “irretrievable breakdown of trust” with management – i.e. he actually tried to stand up for his fellow workers. Indeed in April he visited all three Visteon occupations (like Linamar, Visteon are strongly linked to Ford).

Turnout for the vote was 88%, with 139 voting 'yes' in support of the strike, and 19 voting 'no' against it. With a historic downturn – coupled with massive ‘downsizing’ (redundancies) – in the car industry, Linamar employees clearly see this strike as a vital defensive measure. They will need your support! Please visit here and join the support group, and watch a video of a pre-ballot rally here.

Students at Sussex University have been holding a protest camp outside management offices for more than a week now, in protest against the proposed closure of the Linguistics Department (see here). On Thursday, the management handed out letters to seven presumed ‘leaders’, threatening students with “disciplinary proceedings” if they did not end their camp by 5pm on Friday (see the letter at UK Indymedia). The seven face potential victimisation very similar to that of Rob Williams. Whether in a factory or a faculty, a cut is a cut, so more solidarity is needed!

Meanwhile, Upside Down World has a very interesting article on the situation in Argentina, looking back at the wave of occupations that took place in that country in response to their millennial financial crisis, and how surviving co-operatives are trying to ride out the current turmoil. According to reporter Marie Trigona:
“Many of the 200 worker controlled businesses and factories in Argentina are being affected by the crisis. But unlike their capitalist counterparts, the worker cooperatives are taking any measure possible to avoid laying off workers, something which they are opposed to doing.”

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