The Waterford Crystal occupation against the factory closure in south east Ireland has been an inspiration to workers in Ireland and internationally.
Donie Fell, a key activist in the occupation, toured London, Cambridge and Manchester last week to build support for the occupation.
Donie spoke at a UCU lecturers’ meeting at London Metropolitan University where jobs are under threat and then spoke to students at the University of East London.
The next day he went to Cambridge, where local activist Tom reports, “The visit was a welcome boost to the Cambridge University Press campaign against job cuts. Donie made the idea of occupation a tangible, realistic and reasonable response to fighting job losses.”
The workers at the press sent messages of support and agreed to do a collection in solidarity.
Donie spoke to the London region of the Unite union on Thursday of last week. He then travelled to Manchester to speak at a Unite branch meeting, a Unison health branch, the FBU north west region and at a CWU postworkers’ anti privatisation event.
He also spoke at a Manchester Stop the War Coalition Gaza vigil outside the BBC and at a Manchester trades council event.
The occupation is continuing. Tom Hogan, a former Waterford Crystal worker and president of Waterford trades council, reports, “The occupation is still lively. KPS – a US vulture capitalist firm – has bought the brand but it is still unclear how many jobs will be saved.
“The 480 sacked workers are now living on the basic social welfare payment. The 10 million euro compensation offered will only last four or five weeks. Workers are pushing that the 10 million be seen as a down payment for more compensation.
“The new owner’s plan is that the manufacturing be done by a separate company. We are calling on the government to step in and take the manufacturing into public ownership.
“The bosses are doing everything to avoid responsibility for pensions. The workers are clear that all these things have to be resolved together. There can be no splitting up of the issues.”
Rush messages of support and donations to Unite Hall, Keyzer Street, Waterford County, Waterford, Republic of Ireland, phone 00353 5187 5438, or email [email protected]