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A step forward in the struggle for worker control of Zanon factory

Zanon workers occupied the factory four years ago and have since then maintained it under worker control, keeping the machinery running, creating jobs, and struggling for the "definitive solution": worker control of the factory, its legal expropriation, and nationalization without having to pay for its debt, so that Zanon can continue to serve the community.

Given the absence of any response from the national and provincial governments, the Provincial Legislature or the National Congress, along with the continuous threats of eviction, we formed the FaSinPat cooperative towards the end of the year 2003 to demand temporary recognition of the workers' administration.

Last Tuesday, the judge declared the continuity of Zanon's administration under the cooperative FaSinPat. But he wanted to impose unacceptable conditions on us: limiting the cooperative's autonomy and reserving his right to revoke his decision, without cause, whenever he wanted and with no possibility for appeal. The Zanon Assembly unanimously rejected these conditions and demanded that the judge respect our conditions.

The judge then revised these central points and modified his ruling. The new document recognizes the autonomy of the workers' administration (ruling out any form of co-administration with the former owners or any governmental body); grants permission to use the factory to produce and commercialize ceramic products (including the Zanon brand) for one year with a possibility of renewal; and expects the workers to make monthly payments of $30,000 + tax (translator's note: approx. US $10,000 + tax), and periodically submit accounting reports to the receivership.

Under these conditions we consider the agreement to be a step forward in our struggle for worker control, since for at least one year there is no possibility of eviction (and our administration is renewable). But at the same time we are aware that this is not the definitive solution. Our commitment is to double our efforts and our struggle to obtain legal expropriation, and we will not accept demands that we pay off a debt worth millions that was created by the previous owners, who stripped the factory of its assets.

As we have always said, Zanon is not an island and we cannot save ourselves alone in a country where government policies continue to generate millions in profits for big corporations while millions of workers are still unemployed, wages do not cover basic needs, and hunger and misery continue to spread.

It is only by believing in our own strengths, along with united employed and unemployed workers, combative students and the support of the community, that we can continue to defend our factory and achieve a victory for worker control. That is why we will continue to work in the same way, which is with the assembly, mandates, revocability, our statutes and coordinating activities with other sectors at the regional and national levels, continuing our cultural and social activities and the Nuestra Lucha newspaper and radio show, using part of our production to cover social needs, maintaining a solidarity strike fund, keeping the factory open to the people, etc. Our destiny is linked to the struggle of all workers and poor people. This is where all our hopes and efforts lie.


Translated by Fernando Rouaux and Shana Yael Shubs
In Spanish:

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