Socialist Worker

Prisme: ‘We kept protesting because our cause was worth fighting for’

Issue No. 2151

Workers at the Prisme packaging company in Dundee occupied against the planned closure of the firm. After more than seven weeks in the building, they saved their company.

Dave Taylor from Prisme said, “The managing director came in and resigned on Monday 2 March. It wasn’t a great loss so we just kept working as usual.

“Then on Wednesday 4 March another director came in and said that we all had to be out the door by 5pm.

“He didn’t bring any paperwork with him so we said he had to go away and get us that before we would leave.

“He eventually returned with a letter stating the company was ceasing trading, that we were entitled to so much in redundancy pay and that the company had no money so we wouldn’t get any of it.

“We’d been mistreated for years, working unpaid overtime and doing everything needed to keep the company going.

“We decided we’d had enough. We decided we weren’t going to leave until we got our redundancy pay or something more satisfactory.

“We were just expecting to make a point, but on the first night we got lots of people coming to the factory from trade unions and other groups.

“We decided that we were doing something that was worth fighting for and we decided to stay in occupation. We got loads of support from union branches, members and people off the street.

“We were backed into a corner and so had no option other than to occupy.

“Occupation isn’t for everyone. But if someone was in the same position as us and felt they had something worth fighting for then I would definitely recommend they go for it.

“Workers have to stand up for themselves. We can’t let employers get away with what they’re doing.

“Even if you don’t get what you set out to win, at least you’ll have your self-respect.

“We feel so proud of what we did. We’re not a unionised workplace and we didn’t know what support we’d get. We thought it was just us 12.

“The fact that the company started trading again after we put together a business plan is a result of the stand that we took.”

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Article information

Tue 12 May 2009, 17:19 BST
Issue No. 2151
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