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Viome 26
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

The workers of Vio.Me., a building materials factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, which was abandoned by its owners, have been unpaid since May 2011. By decision of their general assembly they have decided to occupy the factory and operate it under direct democratic workers’ control. After a year-long struggle that has attracted attention and solidarity in Greece and worldwide, they are kick-starting production on February 12, 2013, after 3 days of intense mobilization.

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Viome, a self-management factory in T...
thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

Before the beginning of the international crisis, Viome were a factory in Thessaloniki with around 80 workers. The factory produced chemical products for the construction sector, owned by Philippou family. The main company of the Philippou's group, Philkeram-Johnson S.A, were in bankrupt in 2011 and the consequences for Viome were immediately adverse. After institutional meetings without a clear solution, the workers decide to re-take the factory and the production. In September 2012, after a 48hours strike, the workers start to discuss the idea of self-management, and the 97% of workers vote for it.

After the occupation of the factory, on 12 February 2013, the workers started the self-management production, selling cleaning products. A huge solidarity movement support the workers, with national and international inititatives to promote and diffuse the "Viome way", where now workers control the factory, without any owner.

Around 40 people work in Viome, with a basic wage for everyone and 8 hours working time 5 days a week. The general assembly decide the main question and a weekly meeting discuss he more operative aspects. "At the beginning was difficult, but we are sure that our situation is gonna be better, even better than before the crisis", said a worker of Viome. Economic crisis and bad decision from the Viome's leadership, contribute to the difficult situation of the factory, with with the probable dismissal of around 80 workers.

Since the workers have retake the factory, they've started a new production of cleaning products, looking for a sustainable and ethical production, including workers rights and a big challenge: spread the idea that workers create everything, and the have to take bake what they onw, in any cities and countries around the world.

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Viome 16
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

Workers inside Viome attending the visit of Naomi Klein.

The workers of Vio.Me., a building materials factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, which was abandoned by its owners, have been unpaid since May 2011. By decision of their general assembly they have decided to occupy the factory and operate it under direct democratic workers’ control. After a year-long struggle that has attracted attention and solidarity in Greece and worldwide, they are kick-starting production on February 12, 2013, after 3 days of intense mobilization.

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Viome 7
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

About 40 people work actually in Viome. They work 8 hours each day and take the basic wages.

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Viome 13
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

"The politicians don't want the self-management, because unemployment and crisis are often useful for low wages and foreing investors", said a worker during a break.

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Viome 11
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

In June 2013, Naomi Klein visited the Viome factory as an experiment of social redistribution from the botton. Actually there is no owner of the factory, just the general assembly makes decisions.

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Viome 8
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

A worker dress the Viome t-shirt inside the factory.

The workers are however optimistic: The proceeds from the benefit gig and the donations of supportive groups and individuals collected through viome.org should be enough to keep the company afloat in the first few months. And the support of the social movements means many of the products will be distributed through the existing structures of social and solidary economy.

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Viome 4
Thessaloniki
By Michele Lapini
29 May 2013

A worker during a break in Viome.

Through a formal proposal dating from October 2011 they have been claiming the establishment of a workers' cooperative under full workers’ control, demanding legal recognition for their own workers’ cooperative, as well as for all the others to follow.
Thessaloniki, 29.05.2013