The seizure by police of the LIP watch factory in France ended four months of worker centre, and caused reverberations in the trade unions.
The seizure by police of the LIP watch factory in France ended four months of worker centre, and caused reverberations in the trade unions. France's major trade union groups have expressed sympathy with the 1,300 workers, and some have planned strikes in support of their actions.
The workers at LIP took over the factory in Besancon, when it went bankrupt. With no management centre, they continued to produce watches and sold them at cut prices as best they could.
Local courts ruled that the takeover was illegal and a judge went to the factory with a closure order last week. He was turned away at the gates.
The workers were expelled at dawn on Tuesday (August 14th) by a strong force of police. Soon after, thousands of workers and townspeople rushed to the gates in pretest. The crowds avoided violence, and by mid-afternoon 5,000 shouting demonstrators faced about 3,000 policemen. Clashes were avoided until the evening, when police used tear gas to disperse some youths who were throwing stenos.
The LIP workers turned down a government plan to put the company back in business. They may still have an ace up their sleeve, they revealed they had taken a vital piece from very machine in the factory and had sterad away 6,000 watches.