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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 March 2009

Dundee Prisme occupation: Workers remain defiant

THE OCCUPATION of the Prisme packaging factory in Dundee has entered its third week and is still going strong. 12 workers, some of whom had worked at Prisme for 15 years were sacked without notice on Wednesday 4 March.

Philip Stott, Dundee

They were told that although they were entitled to redundancy payments, accrued holiday pay and wages due in lieu, they would not be getting a penny because the company had no assets. The workers took the courageous decision to occupy the factory and have been there ever since.

"We have been blown away with the support we have received," commented David Taylor. Solidarity messages and donations have been coming in from across Scotland and beyond. David spoke at a Dundee Unison AGM where 150 was collected and another 100 was donated from branch funds. The UCU in Dundee gave 200 and over 200 was collected at the Dundee United-Celtic match last weekend.

David and Matthew both travelled to Glasgow to attend and speak at a Solidarity public meeting alongside well-known socialist Tommy Sheridan and other workers in struggle.

An unemployed chef who was at the meeting has been sending through curries, soup, and stews for the occupation which has gone down a storm with the workers.

The workers have been taking it in shifts to sleep over at the factory to ensure a 24-hour a day, seven days a week occupation. Maureen, who has worked at Prisme for 14 years, said: "We thought we would maybe be in for just the one night, but now we don't want to leave."

While continuing the occupation and fighting for the full payments due to them, the workers have now agreed to try to set up a workers' cooperative in a bid to keep a business going and safeguard the jobs of the staff who still want to work there.

David Taylor told us: "We think it is viable to keep the business going. We have 90 years of experience and we know how to run things. It would be a shame not to try. We don't want to look back and regret not taking the chance when it came. We want to show that workers, ordinary people, have the ability to take their future into their own hands."

Tommy Sheridan said: "They've showed tremendous courage to take the stand they've made. They've turned their defiance into something positive, and it shows their initiative to take it further and start a cooperative. They may not have realised it, but they've planted a flag for socialism and workers' control."

  • Prisme: send messages of support to prismeworkerssolidarity@googlemail.com
  • Donations can be made out to "TUC Lobby Fund", and sent to Prisme Workers Solidarity, c/o Mike Arnott, Dundee TUC, 141 Yarrow Terrace, Menzieshill, Dundee, DD2 4DY.

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