Since December 2002, the NI has reported on the battles by the Brukman textile workers to keep working in the Buenos Aires factory that their employers walked away from. After winning and losing many battles (including three evictions, police threats and street riots), the Brukman workers have won their war.
‘We’re happy to be able to prove to the public that our fight wasn’t in vain,’ says Celia Martínez, one of the spokespeople for the workers in the factory, following the vote by the Argentine capital’s City Council finally to hand the factory from its bosses to its staff.
As a result of this decision – at the end of October last year – the city authorities will pay compensation and rent to the usurped bosses. The workers will form a co-operative, joining the list of an estimated 170 businesses across Argentina that have been ‘recovered’ in this way from bankruptcy and abandonment by their owners.
Meanwhile, a host of proposed bills have been placed before Congress that aim to make it simpler for workers to take over their firms once bankruptcy proceedings begin. President Néstor Kirchner’s Government is reportedly setting up a fund of six million pesos ($2 million) to support these new worker-run industries.