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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.
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.
An activist from the "Thessaloniki Solidarity Initiative to the struggle of VioMe" stand in front of the old noticeboard inside Viome.
The workers of Vio.Me. has awakened the solidarity of thousands of people, of the workers and the unemployed in every corner of the globe.
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.
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.