GKN worker recuperation factory fundraiser and tour

Hey all,

Not sure if you have heard about the upcoming ‘we make tomorrow’ conference https://www.wmtconference.org/ . It might be something which workers.coop could consider participating in somehow - Our message is often neglected from these discussions about transitions but very important I feel - and it will be a good opportunity to connect with people in industries where there aren’t usually workers coops. I bring it up mainly because there will be workers from the GKN for Future factory occupation in Florence attending. Their story is quite impressive - I first heard they were occupying it last June! They are creating a plan to build solar panels and cargo bikes in the factory (which previously produced car drivechains). Very exciting stuff.

A pdf of their plan : https://insorgiamo.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/EN-GFF-text.pdf
An article about the struggle more generally: #Insorgiamo: A Factory Occupation for the Climate - Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung
and a link to the fundraiser: ex-GKN FOR FUTURE - crowdfunding


The event looks interesting, and builds on many of the conversations had at the Cooperative Ways Forward conference held last autumn in Manchester. Perhaps workers.coop could/should consider being a conference partner, as part of work to build links with the TU movement and climate justice.


And it can continue straight on from the Stir to Action 'Playground for the New Economy, also in Mcr, 19 & 20 May. @Jonny Is there already a formal link between the two? seems like there should be, workers.coop could be it, or union:co-ops. @CoopAlex

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Yeah - if people would like I can ask what role there could be for partner organisations or how workers.coop could best support :slight_smile: - perhaps it would be a situation where we help co-organise a panel.

Here are the details of what it could entail : We Make Tomorrow Partner Form

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We Make Tomorrow - The Crisis Is Global, So Is Our Movement! Tickets, Tue 9 May 2023 at 19:00 | Eventbrite There is an online rally beforehand which also includes GKN.

I’m going to attend the conference in Manchester and would be happy to see how I can contribute on behalf of workers.coop. My feeling is that it would be good to sign up as a partner organisation even if it is just for visibility.

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@Sion @louise @AthertonJohn @Tucker @giles @Ben @Debbie hey Comms Group, you have a meeting on Monday, is Sean going to this event on behalf of workers.coop and with some kind of message or materials?

I’ve been following the GKN occupation and campaign for a while and have also asked through CECOP channels what support we can mobilise. Francesca Montalti from Legacoop Lavoro seems to be involved and apparently the collective has asked for ‘technical assistance’ which I interpret as wanting help with putting together the engineering/product conversion plan, but haven’t heard any detail or made contact yet.

There is some good stuff about the GKN struggle (interviews etc) on the Angry Workers site.

There’s a Solidarity event in London on May 19th, I’m going to ask workers.coop to make a small sponsorship contribution and may be a speaker - The Transition is a Class Conflict Tickets, Fri 19 May 2023 at 19:00 | Eventbrite

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Hey yeah there are some good bits translated. I have been following the progress too and learnt about it in Pisa last year. I think a small contribution from workers.coop would be welcome and it would be good to ask the organisers about how to support. The event in London is also organised by the CJC.

My request at the top was that we sign the partnership form for the conference in Manchester which means we would be down as supporters of the event (thanks @leedscath for prompting!). I think the suggestion of a small contribution and aim to be on a panel or help discussion would definitely fall under that and that it would be good if we can do that as I think building the link between worker co-ops and the TU movement is important - does it need to be agreed in the comms meeting or should we go ahead and do that.

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Just wondering if the comms group managed to discuss this yesterday.
If not/if there are no objections I’ll go ahead and sign the partnership form. I am happy to represent the federation at the event as Cath suggested, it’s too soon now to have any materials to bring but I can talk about our work.

I realise this has been quite a lot of questions from me and perhaps agreeing some kind of simpler process for attending events or representing workers.coop is needed, or maybe we make a new category for events. I’m not sure really which working group it falls to and perhaps comms meeting wasn’t the right place for a request like this anyhow.

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hey there - don’t know how to generally attract attention to posts, but I would if I could with this one!
GKN (Florence) need active support from
a) potential buyers of cargo bikes - expressions of strong interest in buying one or more bikes (ideally for resale) so that they can develop a business plan based on potential sales, and thus know how much investment they need to start producing them
b) potential investors in non-lithium/non-cobalt solar panel tech - who’s out there (in the world) who has some cash to invest in more sustainable panel production? They’ve started testing a product, but they also haven’t been paid wages for 7 months and need income to survive while they do this testing. The 400 workers who were occupying have been reduced to 200 since loss of wages.

@seanfarmelo and I were once again kicking around the idea of trying to develop (or find!) a European solidarity distribution network, which can support workers in struggle by buying their products. This was a topic that came up with the Vio-Me factory in Thessaloniki some years ago.

@Sion is this something that CECOP could help with?
Everyone else - do you know people/co-ops/businesses/collectives/squats/communities anywhere in Europe that might be interested in such a network?
@mattofyorkcollective could the Euro bike courier network be interested in this specific case?

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CECOP-CICOPA and other networks can share info and help build interest (especially if they launch an equity fund)

I’ll ask if there’s any interest in the CoopCycle Federation. Any idea if they’ve settled on a cargo bike design(s)?

no idea - @seanfarmelo ? @Sion ?

Doubt they’ve got to that stage - they’re in a chicken-and-egg situation at the moment because they need to create a credible industrial plan in order to raise a lot of money, but they need money to create the industrial plan.

Hey, thanks for sharing Cath. I have followed up and requested a meeting specifically about the cargo bikes - it seems like their stuck on the pricing and doing solidarity of pre-orders will help them with bulk purchasing and also potentially things like investment and match funding.

@mattofyorkcollective they have made two prototypes so far - one with tooling for mass production rather than just custom frame building. The model I saw was a bakfiet/bullit two wheeler. Quite exciting! sounds like they were planning to do a budget/solidarity model aiming for under €2k which is really quite cheap! and then something higher end with e options. But of course to achieve that price they need to be doing it at scale.

They did mention they had talked to Coopcycle but i’m not sure how much. Really what is needed is a bunch of bike collectives to commit to selling them or council (thinking preston, brighton, lewes - or barcelona) to launch cargo bike hire schemes like the one in Paris with a pre-order through them.

I can keep people informed if a meeting is happening!

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Understandable, most CoopCycle members are doing on-demand food delivery so I don’t think there’s a huge pool of potential customers. I’d be interested in helping to explore avenues for them to be hired/sold in the UK.

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can anyone think of progressive investors for the other thing? maybe a collaboration of community energy co-ops? or @AthertonJohn do you have a connection at Open Society Foundation? or @Sion Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung?

Dario F said they weren’t ready to issue an investment prospectus until they had an industrial plan, but putting that together will require money, so they were in a chicken-and-egg situation

well coming up with a plan sounds like a fundable proposition