Online Archive  
Issue 11 - March 1973
Workers Control?
'Workers Firm Pulls in the Cash'. The article in the Evening Chronicle the other day seemed to imply that the workers of Leadgate Engineering had struck another blow for 'Workers Control' and the 'Right to Work'.

When Stibbes of Leicester decided to close down the Leadgate Engineering factory because it was uneconomic, 80 of the 300 strong workforce decided to carry out a sit-in to prevent removal of the machinery.

After 5 months they claimed victory. The parent company agreed to 'loan' the plant to the remaining 29 workers, so that they could run the factory themselves.

The orders were to be supplied by Stibbes, with whom the workers have 'a very constructive relationship'. In fact the former boss, Mr W A Reed is still there acting as 'consultant'. Workers control?

In fact a militant sit-in to prevent removal of machinery has been converted into a work-in which has solved all the company's problems. Their loss making factory has been rationalised with a vengeance (only 10% of the workforce survives).

The Evening Chronicle put one side of the story: 'The gamble which the parent company was not prepared to take seems to have paid off, and the 29 strong workforce is reaping the benefit.'

The Chairman of Stibbes put the other side: 'The trouble (has been) that we have had great difficulty in selling the factory. This exercise will at least show that there is a working unit here on which someone can build'.