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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL Novembre - Scop-Ti: Self-management, year II (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]
Thu, 30 Nov 2017 07:09:13 +0200
Exactly 1336 days of struggle with continuous factory occupation, another year of legal
battle to recover the exploitation rights, two years of production in perfect autonomy,
zero gift of capital, and perhaps soon the financial equilibrium for the 41 cooperants
from the Gémenos factory (Bouches-du-Rhône). Alternative Libertaire takes the thread of
the " saga " Fralib. ---- When that day arrives at the Scop-Ti factory in Gémenos, the
security booth is unoccupied, and the airlock closed. A slight feeling of abandonment in a
visitors parking lot almost empty. For a few moments, knowing the still fragile situation
of Fralib / Scop-Ti, we are worried - legal closure, extraordinary AG, technical problem
on the channel ? ---- When Gérard Cazorla arrives - in charge (among many other
activities) of the public relations - he explains that " the friend " at the entrance is
suffering and, polyvalence obliges, " we manage the entrances between us ".
A blow: the loss of the elephant brand
We head towards the factory, passing technical buildings hit by Che Guevara's face and
political slogans. " We did not have time to clean up, " my guide laughs. The past -
recent - is perfectly assumed, and the comrades whom I will question later on the channel,
deeply proud of the road traveled. Despite the sacrifices, the doubts of yesterday, the
worries for tomorrow.
Because this path has been fraught with pitfalls since August 2014, when Fralib won,
against Unilever, the right to keep the site and the production tool. Embezzlement: The
Urban Community of Marseille (CUM) sells the plant for 1 euro symbolic, but increases the
rent unacceptably. Embargo: the CUM reminds the company, still without activity at the
time, its environmental and regulatory duties, as to move its walls away from the road.
Again, it's a battle and it negotiates step by step to start in viable conditions.
Embouche: they are denied the use of the brand Elephant, born in Marseille and considered
as heritage by the Fralib for more than one hundred and twenty years that " generations
of workers have made the notoriety ."
Cazorla insists, " We thought she was coming back to us " and that with a " billionaire
brand " like Lipton in her wallet, Unilever could be conciliatory. Nothing at all: " We
had to start from scratch. " Ambush: one year later, in August 2015 on the eve of the
start activity, it does not matter for Fralib let the comrades remained unemployed fall
RSA. The moral duty is to hire them in advance of phase, as early as May, well before the
first orders arrive and be paid. Part of the € 2.85 million paid by Unilever to the sale
will be used to take over the first 29 employees." We paid the riflemen, " says Gerard.
Yet such a disbursement is heavy to bear.
But assume, the workers of Scop-Ti have been used to it for all these years. The
counterpoint to the words " fight ", " fight ", " sacrifice ", are the words of "
solidarity " and " support " that always come to denote the support of local people,
families, town halls " of left, from the true left " which allowed them to never falter.
SCOP TI - Launches its brand from SCOP-TI on Vimeo .
The decision-making body: the general assembly
Yet the bar, they put it high. As a backdrop to today's activity, the 2011 " alternative
project " stipulated:
not a bolt should go out of the factory ;
we have the skill, no need of bosses ;
return to quality products with natural flavors, favoring local short circuits ;
new legal form, far from the capitalist model.
Solid card: five years after the start of an epic fight, the Fralib have maintained the
production tool and part of the job, allowed the oldest to retire at full rate, achieved a
turnover by almost 3 million euros in 2017, allowing them to look to the future with
greater confidence, created two brands, obtained to be distributed nationally in organic
circuits (Scop-Ti) and traditional supermarkets (1336).
" We have never worked as much since we tried to deprive ourselves of jobs, " laughs
Gerard, when talking about the speed at which the plant has mobilized to create sales
volume, a brand with its design, organic products ...
" Morally, we know why we are here ", he analyzes to talk about self-management. "
Everyone has two hats: employee and cooperator-activist. " Decisions are made by AG,
versatility is practiced in principle but especially need: the plant turns with 45 people
against nearly 200 by 2011. In order to coordinate a board of 11 members elected for four
years , revocable at any time. Three of them form a steering committee in charge of daily
life. "We had to take titles (president, general manager, etc.), but that did not change
my life ! " The decision-making body of the company is the AG: " wage policy, brands,
schedules, reorganization of work ... "
" Our model was the Scop. We had to learn. We knew, but not inside. We traded with
existing Scop and then between us. There were some reluctant, others were thoroughly for.
Finally, the long time of the struggle allowed us to mature this project. We were inspired
by past struggles of course. As we hope this one will inspire others . " Gérard Cazorla
reminds us: the struggle lasted for three years because everyone participated, in a
transparency indispensable for mutual aid and efficiency. Finally, these practices
continued once the autonomy gained against Unilever.
The workers of Gémenos have lost their wages, it is true. Apart from a few
individualities, everyone has been there since the beginning, and the revolutionary
consciousness that animates them is palpable, preventing the project from being overtaken
by the spirit of capitalism, as is often the case with co-operative programs. , with
success, come to legitimize a form of self-exploitation.
It is too early to swear anything. Certainly one feels on the chain, in the aisles, the
offices, on the faces, that the struggle is a living thing, not a concept. But she left as
much determination as fatigue. No one here flinches when we talk about the present - " I
work more but I know why " - but it will be necessary to increase the number. Jean-Marc,
maintenance technician, hopes to " develop the order book to be able to hire ". Gerard
is confident: " We matured the project and we got there. Often it takes a decade for a
brand to be known ; 1336 has made itself known in two years, even if its notoriety is not
yet sufficient. "
180,000 euros received in support
The 1336 brand is selling well. The hard work of comrades explains this success, as does
popular solidarity. Gerard is moved: " It's extraordinary, in just two months of
crowdfunding we collected 180,000 euros from 1,600 donors, beyond the militant and
associative circles ! " The popularity Fralib not fallen: " What we have been talking to
many people who are not on our side but see that we saved a company and the values we
cherish, the local, the job ... We constantly receive holidaymakers, curious, who ring the
gate to finger our fight. "
Jean-Marc's throat tightens when he evokes the years of struggle, where pensioners,
workers and workers, penniless people sent support checks of 50 euros: " That's what
allowed me to hold. Solidarity. "
" Four political reasons to support Scop-Ti "
in the monthly Alternative Libertaire n ° 277 (November 2017)
The revolution is organic, it's good
And Fralib is preparing new projects: on the one hand, production of a high quality tea
from centenary tea trees with a Vietnamese cooperative, in exchange for helping farmers to
develop their organic sector ; on the other hand, development of a short supply circuit
for all local products, such as a " vintage " linden from the Baronnies (Drôme
Provençale). Now engaged in cultural activities (theater), the plant is open to public
sale and leads projects associative with the Fraliberthé association.
" What do I want ? A revolution. " Raymonde, 59, operator of machine unwraps the tea
bags. With calm, but passion, she says the past five years, that the fight pays, that
factory closures are not inevitable, that " people must fight " ... " I wish there was
a revolution, as the ancients did to obtain rights. Because the other one, the Macron, is
destroying them. We must not give up. "
There is no question of giving up: the balance is not yet reached ; Scop-Ti is counting on
the current campaign of socio-financing and the distribution networks militant to pass the
Text and photos: Cuervo (AL Marseille)
HOW TO HELP SCOP-TI ?
By ordering directly from the online store of the support association, Fraliberthé.
For militant places, unions, associations, works councils ...
The best is to contact the support association, Fraliberthé , who has available a specific
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