The workers at Waterford Crystal occupying the plant are an example to us all. Rather than accept the closure of the business, the loss of all the jobs and the destruction of the area’s premier industry; workers seized the buildings making liquidation impossible for the receiver.
The receiver issued notice of job losses without first consulting the union as had been agreed. Hired heavies were shipped in to prevent the workers entering the building. With very little notice the shop stewards rallied as many of their members as possible and seized the plant against the aggressive antics of the "security men". They immediately set in place a rota to keep the furnace functioning and organised staffing for the occupation.
The working class of Waterford rallied to them and provided all forms of support. A quarter of the population of the city attended a rally organised by the local Council of Trade Unions on February 12th.
The objectives of the workers are to keep the plant operating and protect the maximum number of jobs, ensure the security of pensions and get decent redundancy payments for those being let go. Whilst some of the leadership of our unions have been talking ‘partnership’ with employers and government, others have been taking a more direct approach.
Waterford Crystal is a shining example of workers demonstrating the best practice of direct action and solidarity. They want other workers to imitate their example, we should all take a leaf out of their book.