April 18, 2005
ZANON WORKERS IN STATE OF ALERT JUDGE OPENS WAY FOR VULTURE FUNDS TO TAKE OVER THE FACTORY
Today legal notices were published that open the "cram-down" process for competitive bidding on Zanon Ceramics. This means that from Thursday the 21st to Wednesday the 27th of April a court registry will be opened to let the old owner or any vulture fund apply and have the opportunity to buy shares for pennies and make a proposal to pay back the debt owed to creditors.
If this judicial action is carried through, 470 jobs and the workers‚ administration are in danger, since the new owner will then ask for the eviction of the factory.
This procedure is completely illegal. The company's assets were stripped by the Zanon family, who were found guilty of launching an "offensive lock-out‰ and removed from the Board of Directors, leaving behind a debt of more than $170 million. Since the factory was closed more than three years ago it has been controlled by the workers, who have increased production and created more than 210 jobs. They are trying to destroy these years of work.
Let's be clear: in February the judge should have declared the factory bankrupt and recognized our cooperative FaSinPat (Workers Without a Boss). But Article 84 of the Law of Public Bidding and Bankruptcy was breached and today the workers have to deal with this situation.
During March and April we were the victims of threats and violence against our families. The wives of two workers were attacked. The provincial government tried to discredit us in the eyes of public opinion. They are trying to pave the way for the eviction and handover of the factory to the previous owner or a vulture fund that will apply for the "Cram-Down.‰
The Zanon workers say, once again, that we will not back down. We reaffirm our commitment to struggle for the recognition of our cooperative and the expropriation of the factory.
On Tuesday the 19th we will protest in Neuquen for our rights and in solidarity with the struggle of the health-care workers.
On Thursday the 21st, together with delegates from organizations in solidarity with us, we will meet at 11am at the Commercial Court in Buenos Aires (Callao Ave. and Marcelo T. de Alvear Ave.) to condemn the opening of the registry.
We call all organizations to a meeting on Wednesday the 20th at 7pm at Bauen Hotel to organize our activities.
CERAMICS UNION OF NEUQUEN
54.299-154.052657 Raul Godoy
54.299-154.016923 Alejandro Lopez
54.299-155.083711 Carlos Acuña