Worker take-overs have become a phenomenon which saves many enterprises around the world. There are many examples in Europe or South America of workers deciding to not let their enterprise disappear and to become owners of the enterprise. This is not where it ends! South Africa has also opened the path to worker buy-outs. In October 2010, the workers of the Mine Line/TAP Engineering factory in Krugersdorp, just outside Soweto, started an occupation of their workplace to stop the former owner from stripping the factory of machinery and other assets and to fight to save their jobs.
They occupied the plant and began a campaign of solidarity, demanding that the state takes over of the factory. Now the factory has re-opened and is a democratically run worker cooperative.
However, in order to succeed in this activity, they need the support of the Industrial Development Cooperation, a state-owned national development institution that provides financing to entrepreneurs and businesses engaged in competitive industries. “If they do assist this cooperative, it would open up a door from the government to many other worker cooperatives” says Athish Kirun from COPAC, an independent agency active in the development of worker cooperatives in South Africa. “If they don’t help the cooperative, we will then go back to demonstrate in the streets”.
International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives
Secretariat: C/O European Cooperative House - avenue Milcamps 105
1030 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 543 1033, fax: +32 2 543 1037