Neuquen, Argentina – As a consequence of the 2001 crisis in Argentina, many people, especially those of the worker class, lost their jobs.
But in Patagonia, in the south of Argentina, one factory gained fame, first locally and then nationally and internationally because the workers refused to accept the loss of their jobs.
The workers of the ceramic tile factory, Zanon, located in the city of Neuquen, occupied the site and effectively resisted all attempts by factory managers and government authorities to expel them. They kept the factory running, maintained production quotas, and saved their jobs.
In August 2009, the provincial legislature voted to expropriate the factory to the workers’ cooperative legally and indefinitely. The national government took three years to legally recognise the ownership transfer.
The factory has been renamed Fasinpat, an acronym for Factoria Sin Patrones – Factory Without Bosses, and has since become profitable.
With part of the profits, the cooperative invested in local projects such as the construction of a local hospital. It also developed relations with the indigenous Mapuche community to buy clay from their lands to use as raw material.