Factory workers at a ceramic factory in Neuquén, Argentina are preparing to defend their autonomous running of their workplace, as the courts start to look at appointing an owner. The workers have been running the factory themselves since the Argentinian government meltdown in 2001, and say they are more effective working independently.
There are now 410 workers at FaSinPat ('Fabrica sin Patrones' or 'Factory without Bosses'), having hired over 170 new workers in four years of autonomous control. The factory is widely known as Zanon, the name under the previous owner, Luis Zanon, who accumulated some US$170 million in debt, and shut down the factory, firing the workers.
Argentinian government and businesses were in chaos at the time, with the government dissolving repeatedly and defaulting on $88 billion of debt, inflation skyrocketing and people demanding money from banks who had closed their doors.
Like over 200 Argentinian workplaces facing similar conditions, the workers chose spontaneously to run the factory themselves, and continued maintenance and production, to keep trading on their own behalf.
Now thirty workers have travelled the 1,200 kilometers to Buenos Aires, presenting a petition containing thousands of signatures from all over the world at the central courthouse, and mobilising outside.
"With these actions we are marking a playing ground for the judge," said Raul Godoy, Zanon worker and General Secretary of the Ceramists' Union.