Zanon and BAUEN

IssueMay 2007
Feature by Marie Trigona

As the largest “recuperated” or worker-occupied factory in Argentina, the Zanon ceramics plant in the Patagonian province of Neuqun employs 470 workers.
Along with some 180 other recuperated enterprises which provide jobs for more than 10,000 Argentine workers, the Zanon experience has re-defined the basis of production: without workers, bosses are unable to run a businesses; without bosses, workers can do it better.
The FASINPAT workers' co-op followed the slogan “occupy, resist and produce” and ran the factory between 2001 and 2005 without any legal standing whatsoever. In October 2005, FASINPAT won recognition from federal courts, giving it the right to run the factory for a year. A year later, this was extended to 2009.
With legal status, the FASINPAT can concentrate on planning production, improving working conditions, and developing community projects. As part of this celebration, the cooperative has invited other workers to visit Zanon to learn that they, too, can function without a boss or owner.

BAUEN hotel

The BAUEN hotel, a 19-storey four-star hotel in Buenos Aires, was for almost three decades emblematic of Argentina's bourgeois class. Since 2003, workers have operated the BAUEN co-operative hotel with no legal standing or government subsidies, cleaning up the ransacked hotel and renting out rooms. The hotel now employs some 150 workers.
BAUEN hotel has become a prime example of coalition-building and development of a broad mutual support network. It has become a political centre for worker organisations, including Zanon.
Employees have rallied since December 2005 to pressure the Buenos Aires city government to veto a law which would return the hotel to its former owner. If the BAUEN cooperative does not succeed in pushing through a new favourable law they risk losing their hotel.