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May 13, 2014
May 13, 2014

Greece: Getting by without bosses

Author: Sakis Apostolakis Translator: Eleni Nicolaou
Source: ENET  Category: On the crisis
This article is also available in: elesfrhr
Greece: Getting by without bosses

The former employees of VIO.ME. in Thessaloniki launch exports, proving that in practice, running a factory “without bosses” can succeed.

The 23 former employees that together, set up a Social Cooperative Enterprise at VIO.ME. salvaged machinery from the factory that had gone to auction, changed the direction of the production, and now they turn their gaze abroad. Following the total devastation of the construction sector, and subsequent closure of their factory, these employees have left behind production of building materials and have turned to producing natural cleaners consisting of soap and vinegar. And now they have orders from Sweden, Germany, France and Italy.

“The clients are organisations and movements that have supported us morally, financially and materially all this time,” says Alexander Sideridis, the employees’ representative. VIO.ME. has been operating “without bosses” for 15 months. “At first we sold the natural cleaners to organisations and movements. From the profits, we were able to live all these months and buy raw materials for the production to go on. Now even movements from abroad ask for our products”, Alexander Sideridis continues, and emphasizes that all transactions are performed properly with vouchers and invoices.

Last weekend, a nationwide meeting of solidarity supporters and workers from different industries was held at the VIO.ME factory. Primary topics discussed were, networking of the VIO.ME. project, creating closer cooperation between social movements and collectives, and extending the project itself. Representatives from movements in both Greece and Europe attended the discussion. Among others, members of the occupied “Cerro Ofitsina” factory in Rome, of the Italian movement against the privatisation of water, of the “Save water” movement, of the “136 Movement”’, of the Social Solidarity Clinic, of ELBO, of the self-managed ERT3, and workers of Halkida Cements were present. The main topic of discussion was the ways in which employees can take their fate into their own hands and work for society and themselves, “without bosses”.

Yesterday, a request for cancelling the auction, the same auction in which the remaining VIO.ME. workers obtained the machinery of the factory, was to be heard in the Courts of Thessaloniki. The cancellation request was submitted by former colleagues. The discussion, however, was postponed to January 16, 2015.

Outside the court, people gathered to support the workers that remain in the factory. Among the supporters was a strong police presence that did not need to act.

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