Socialist Worker

Living in the Prisme occupation

The Prisme occupation has ended in victory after more than seven weeks. Mona Clark, a supporter from Dundee, provides a sketch of life in the occupation.

Issue No. 2149

4 March

At 4pm, all twelve workers were committed, whatever the cost, to occupying the plant and fighting for their rights. These notes are snapshots of the battle for success:

  • Sleeping arrangements a bit of a problem. Only two armchairs and a wee couch. Floor a bit hard, but a large amount of cardboard helped. The large table on which the workers drafted designs became a bed.
  • A supporter promised to bring take-aways from a very good Indian restaurant in Glasgow. The logistics presented problems, so one Prisme worker drove to Stirling to meet him and bring back the curries. “Food parcels” from supporters were extremely welcome.
  • Yet another visit to the bank. Great panic because there was no iron in the office for the workers to use to press their suits – worn to impress the bank manager.
  • Childcaring commitments. The four year old presented no problem. Enough cardboard lying around for her to build a metropolis. The eight year old and the eleven year old basked in their new celebrity status as they appeared on TV and in the press. It did their reputation among their schoolfellows a power of good. “When’s the next sit-in?” they wanted to know.

    Possibilities for playing hide and seek in the production room infinite. Could be hidden for ages. Bursts of hilarity and light relief.

    Taking turns to stay overnight. Can be very spooky. No windows, no sound, no neighbours. Getting emails of support at 2am, or from parts of the world as far away as Brazil and Bratislava kept up the spirits.

    The guys in the office next door handed in a heater and four canisters of gas. Much appreciated in the occupation – it was very cold at night. Although the cardboard did offer some protection.

  • Celtic through playing Dundee United. Prisme workers and supporters rattled collecting cans at their supporters, saying we heard Celtic were the most generous of all fans. Collected a considerable sum that afternoon.

    A large broken photocopier is meticulously taken down to its tiniest part. Each part is then deliberately ground down as far as it will go. The workers can work out their frustration and anger on that when we feel like it.

    Number occupying went down to seven, due to illness. Increased pressures for those left, and little hint of issue being settled.

  • The workers acquired a TV to help with the boredom, but could not get a signal. So they had to make do with one DVD. They now know every line of The Return of the Jedi.

24 April

The Prisme workers have won! It has all been worth it, despite the seeds of doubt being sewn on many occasions by families and friends. The workers say they were always revitalised by the support given to them by the political and the non-political. Now it is clear what even a small group of very committed individuals can achieve.

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Article information

Tue 28 Apr 2009, 19:01 BST
Issue No. 2149
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