Occupy, Resist, Produce - Scop Ti

Occupy, Resist, Produce - Scop Ti

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In “Occupy, Resist, Produce – Scop Ti”, the workers tell the story of their collective struggle and speak about their democratic organization of work. They describe the difficulties and contradictions of trying to keep up large-scale industrial production while at the same time sticking to their values and principles: solidarity, organic production and collaboration with local and regional producers.


Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/286191460

Scop Ti is located in Gémenos, a small town near Marseille, in southern France. The plant was previously owned by Lipton, a subsidiary of Unilever. It used to produce herbal and fruit tea, as well as the 120-year-old local black tea brand Thé de l’Éléphant. In September 2010, Unilever decided to relocate production and the machines to Poland, closing the plant and putting 182 people out of their jobs. The workers, supported by the CGT union, immediately occupied their workplace. Initially, all 182 workers participated in the occupation; after three years, 76 remained active. The workers’ plan was to build a cooperative and switch production to natural and organic herbal teas using mainly regional products. Thus, they demanded that Unilever give them control of the factory, the machines and the Thé de l’Éléphant brand name.

The struggle of Fralib relied on continuing production, public protest, a solidarity campaign, and legal action against Unilever. In several occasions, the courts invalidated the transnational corporation’s plans of officially closing the factory, condemned its insufficient social plans, and obliged it to pay outstanding salaries. At the end of May 2014, Unilever agreed to hand over the plant and the machines to the workers; moreover, it paid a large financial compensation, thus enabling the workers to form their own cooperative and restart production.

In May 2015, former Fralib was relaunched as a cooperative under the name “Scop Ti.” The main brand is “1336,” which refers to the number of days the workers’ struggle lasted. Today, 41 workers at Scop Ti produce 16 different natural herb and fruit teas, as well as several organic teas. The factory is democratically self-managed by the workers. The previous wage differences have been largely eliminated; the wage gap between workers and supervisors is now only 100 euros per month.

This is the fourth in a series of short films on workplace occupation and production under workers' control in Europe. The series was launched in 2014 under the title “Occupy, Resist, Produce.”

Directed and produced by Dario Azzellini and Oliver Ressler
Camera: Thomas Parb
Additional camera and location sound: Rudolf Gottsberger
Film editors: Dario Azzellini and Oliver Ressler
Sound design, re-recording mix and color correction: Rudolf Gottsberger

Special thanks to: Sebastian Baden, Monica Berini, Florent Berlioux, Benoît Borrits, Gérard Cazorla, Laura Coppens, Erik Forman, Matthew Hyland, Birgit Mennel, Hanna Schmollgruber, Lars Stubbe, and all workers at Scop Ti.

The project was funded with support from the Kunsthalle Mannheim, BKA – Kunstsektion, DIE LINKE im Europäischen Parlament, Stiftung Menschenwürde und Arbeitswelt, and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.

Stills from Occupy, Resist, Produce - Scop Ti

Occupy, Resist, Produce - Scop Ti
Occupy, Resist, Produce - Scop Ti

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