United Kingdom

Worker Direct Action Grows in Global North in Wake of Financial Meltdown

The traditional path of labor-management collective bargaining has taken a dramatic turn in an era in which unions are too weak or timid to take action even as joblessness grows and companies losing financing are forced into bankruptcy by their creditors. As plants close and layoffs grow—and as workers recognize they can no longer interrupt the workflow with a strike when there is no flow to be interrupted—they are engaging in militant action to save their jobs and livelihoods. read more »

Vesta

The blog for Vesta.

Vestas closed the UK's only wind turbine blade factories, on the Isle of Wight, in August 2009. Workers opposed the closure. This blog is a history of that dispute and of the ongoing campaign for green jobs.

Voices from the Visteon/Ford occupation

Workers occupied to save their redundancy pay and pensions when the factory, one of three component plants hived off from Ford, closed with no notice.

On Tuesday March 31st workers at Visteon factories – making car parts for Ford brands – across the UK were told that Visteon Corp could no longer prop up the UK branch, and so they would all lose their jobs with immediate effect. That night a hundred workers at a plant in west Belfast occupied their workplaces, and the next day were followed by their colleagues in Enfield (north London) and Basildon in Essex. We spoke to a number of the workers involved in the sit-in at Enfield, and have gathered some of the occupiers’ comments below. read more »

Resisting redundancy and recession: appraising the tactic of occupation

In times of recession and restructuring, the occupation or sit-in tactic is potentially a powerful tool when workers are faced with redundancy because it provides leverage that strikes often cannot. Yet, since late 2007 when the global downturn began, we have witnessed very few examples of occupation – certainly far fewer than might have been expected given the depth and extent of recession. read more »

1976: The fight for useful work at Lucas Aerospace

In the 1970s workers at the Lucas Aerospace Company in Britain set out to defeat the bosses plans to axe jobs. They produced their own alternative "Corporate Plan" for the company's future. In doing so they attacked some of the underlying priorities of capitalism. Their proposals were radical, arguing for an end to the wasteful production of military goods and for people’s needs to be put before the owners’ profits. read more »

Fighting Plant Closure - Women in the Plessey Occupation 1982

The occupation of the Bathgate plant of Plessey Capacitors in 1982 provides an interesting example of collective action taken by a mainly female workforce against their multinational employer. This particular dispute has important implications both for the involvement of women in industrial action, and for the debate about the most effective strategies to counter the power of multinational corporations, particularly in the case of plant closure.

The material presented here is based on a series of interviews carried out in the period August to November 1983. read more »

The South London Women’s Hospital Occupation 1984-85

Some background on hospital occupations, which goes back to the late 1970s. In the early 1970s both the private and private sector was being restructured: partly in response to IMF directives, and in response to the relatively high wages and defenses (‘restrictive’ work practices that workers built up through the years. This ‘restructuring’ took the form of further centralisation, deskilling, redundancies, productivity deals, speed-ups, casualisation, tougher discipline. This is highly simplified — but we’ll leave it for the time being.

Since this restructuring often involved closures, people began occupying workplaces instead of simply going on strike. read more »

British factory occupations in the 1970s

General accounts:

An account of the early phases of the post-UCS occupations in the UK from Workers Liberty, the second part does not seem to have appeared.

Read more on:

http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2009/07/20/british-factory-occupations-1970s

Specific occupations:

Upper Clyde Shipbuilders: read more »

Oh Sit Down!

Accounts of sitdown strikes and workplace occupations in the UK and around the world. Compiled by libcom.org - a resource for discontented workers, 2008

Table of contents
2001: Brighton bin men's strike and occupation
2000: Cellatex chemical plant occupation, France
2007: Migrant workers' occupation wins, France
2004: Strike and occupation of IT workers at Schneider Electrics, France
2008: 23 day long occupation of major power-plant in northern Greece ends in police repression
1972: Under new management - Fisher-Bendix occupation
2003: Zanon factory occupation - interview with workers, Argentina read more »