Monday, January 15, 2007

And in today's Parochial News

A picture from about 40 years ago of where I live .

Sit-in call for NCR plant

THE 650 WORKERS to be sacked by NCR should resist the closure of their plant and occupy it in a bid to make the US management change their minds, an economics lecturer at Dundee University said last night.

In what appeared to be encouragement for a return to the flexing of industrial muscle of the 70s and 80s, Dr Carlo Morelli maintained the last Dundee occupation—at the Timex factory at Milton of Craigie—while failing to halt the closure, prevented further manufacturing closures in the city.

He said, “If management at NCR will not manage, the workers should do it themselves.

“They are perfectly able to manufacture a number of things there but everything that may happen is predicated on one thing—that the redundancies are resisted and the way to do that is through the occupation of the factory.”

Dr Morelli pointed out that— unlike Timex or Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, which were heading for meltdown anyway—NCR was a very profitable company with no financial reason for closure except profit.

He said, “What we have is a company doing extremely well and simply trying to maximise its profits from its manufacturing process.

“This is all being driven by the financial rationale of a globalised financial system and the people who are paying the price are 650 NCR workers and their families.”

It was a manufacturing plant with a highly-skilled workforce, he said, and the question is how the workers can challenge the decision to close the plant.

“The solution would be for the workers to take control and challenge the management’s right to manage.

“If they will not manage, then the workers can do it themselves.

“This is exactly the kind of thing that is starting to emerge in Latin America, and if the workers at NCR adopt this approach, you can bet your bottom dollar it would get a huge measure of support not just in Dundee and throughout the UK but globally.”

Dr Morelli (pictured) said resistance by workers and unions, scuppered Ford’s plans to establish a factory in Dundee which would have undercut wages and conditions in the rest of the motor industry.

“I think action by the NCR workforce can change minds.

“They could occupy the plant, carry on making cash machines or other items which they could do very efficiently, but these questions can’t be asked until they challenge the redundancy plans.

“It may well be that NCR will change their view and say they will keep the plant open.”

I'm really not sure how I feel about this. The Timex strike was a really bad time in Dundee and it's easy to say that it resulted in companies not being able to undercut conditions and pay in industry but it was Dundonians who suffered in the end. If workers were to go through with an action like this I would support them but I'd have real doubts about the outcome. It's all a worry really.

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