An overview of Movement of
recovered factories by workers in
Argentina: Innovation processes and
Social enterprises constituted by
Ivone Zarate
• Political, Financial Crisis 2001
• General Bankrupcies
• Massive lay offs of workers
After 10 years…
• The experience on recovered factories by workers
has an accumulated experience of 10 years.
• 80 percent of recovered factories are the product
of bankruptcy
Recovered factory
• Is a factory under the collective management
of the workers, ocurred after declaration of
Self Management (Collective Management)
• Implies the collective way of takin decisions in
different spheres (Customer service, methods
of ptoduction, planification, etc)
• The recovered factories are an expression of a
mixture of organization arrangements (more or less
legal) in order to maintain the employment level
after bankruptcy situation or abandonment of
control by capital owners.
• It includes situation as the occupation of factories
and the resistance from workers, and the possibility
for the workers to buy the enterprise.
The group of workers decided to constitute
themselves into cooperative as there is a legal
vacuum in the system that did not contemplate
situations that resulted from the general bankruptcy
and financial crisis.
Movement of recovered enterprises (More combative)
Movement of recovered factories
• These organizations do not base their
discourse in the establishement of
cooperatives, but favor a more horizontal form
of organizing and decision making, with the
promotion of same wage for every worker, the
constitution of assemblies for participation
and decision making and the rejectance to
admitt managerial cadres in the oranization.
How did it happen?
• First, came the occupations of the factories by
• Second, workers started to look for legal
vaccum in the legal system,
• Later, new definition of laws were accepted.
• These organizations demanded for the
modification of bankrupcy laws and the
conformation of an assistance fund aimed at
recovered enterprises.
Case: Fabrica Sin Patrones (Factory
without bosses)
• Is a factory of ceramic located in Neuquen,
• Since early 2002 is under the control of
workers, after declaration of bunkrupcy in
2001. (Company was previously known as
• It assumed the legal form of cooperatives.
• Decisions are taken in participatory assembly
of workers.
Innovation and Social Enterpises
Where can we locate innovation? Political dimention (assembly)
Technical dimention in production processes.
filling in the gaps in Laws and institutions..Building bridges to satisfy human needs. The
recoveres factories as places of innovation and cultural creation.Work culture and political
culture put toghether.
The workers pushed for innovation in the legal arrangements,
• Law of expropriation
• Law of concourses and bankruptcy. June 2011. It allows for the continuation of production
activities even though the work cooperative may be under process f formation. It also gives
priority for workers in order to make offers in the concourse after bankruptcy.
• Modification in the concept and framing of enterprises, the possibility that worker can
continue working after bankruptcy and using art of profits to provide funds to hospitals,
schools, community centers, etc. Workers also have the advantage of getting adjudication of
infrastructure within the factory through credits and quota payment system. In case the
capital owner had a debt in the form of salaries, and wage benefits, the judge can adjudicate
the infrastructure within the factory in direct way towards the workers. Moreover, during the
bankruptcy process, the interests on wages are not suspended and workers are placed in
equal conditions with privileged investors who were supposed to receive payments with
priority during the bankruptcy process in the previous legal arrangement.
• The University in the Factory
One of the main features of the movement of recoverd
factories is its vocation to go beyond the limits of the
market and establish social links and networks with
social movements and organizations of Civil Society.
First, cultural and artistic activities were promoted.
Later, some recovered factories pushed and established
Popular Bachilleratos, aimed at the formation of adult
people withouth the high school credentials and
focusing education from the perspective of workers.
Later on, University of workers was established in 2010.
Metalurgic enterprise, IMPA
It was the first recovered factory in May 1998.
It also promotes links with society and created the enterprise
called cultural city that offers different culturalworkshops
and comprised a primary health center.
Besides, they formed an education center aimed at adults
with more than 150 students.
Some Numbers of IMPA projects:
58 people work in the factory
30 people work in the cultural center
43 people work in the educational center
Hotel Bauen
• In March 2003, the employees occupied the
Hotel and organized themselves into cooperative.
• The cooperative was able to hire 150 more
• They have remodelated the 200 rooms of the
• The cooperative is trying to diversify and has
established a restaurant.
• October 2005. A judge argued that even
though the workers had the right to occupy
the place, they could not constitute
themselves into an enterprise.
• 2005. Clausura order.
• May 2006. Suspension on the clausura order.
Workers pushed for expropiation of the hotel.
Form of organization
• Equitative distribution of salaries.
• General Assembly as a form of participation
and decision making.
• Maintenance and rise in employment level.
Bruckman factory
• In December 2001, almost 50 people ( mostly
women)demanded for the payment of the salaries.
• The owners of the textile factory abandoned the place that
was occupied by workers, taking into their hands the
organization and the payment of debts, organized in
• After pesification, th owners intended to regain the control
of the factory and workers were repressed by the police.
• 2003. A judge ordered the police to expell the workers from
the factory, amost 30 members of police force intended to
desocuppy the place, but a manifestaion of more than 3000
people defended the occupacy of the factory.
Legal vaccum
• Toghether with the occupation of the factory, the
workers began to push for the modification of the
legal framework in order to continue the
activities and avoid the constant repression.
• By the end of 2003, the congress in Buenos Aires
voted for the expropiation of the called Bruckman
factory, that was given in commodato to the new
established cooperative integrated by the
workers of the factory.
Data recollection (University of Buenos
2003. 128 recovered factories.
2004. 161 recovered factories. 6.900 workers.
2010. 205 recovered factories. 9.362 workers.
63 % of recovered factories benefited from expropiation laws.
73 % of workers occupied the plants, factories and physical spaces after bankrupcy
or abandonment by the capital owners.
80 % of recoverend factories benefited from the support of other recovered
90 % of recovered factories could maintain its activity.
88% of the recovered factories in Argentina held regular assemblies, 44 % once per
week and 34 % once a month.
73 % of workers receive the same wages ( no matter the role in the organization)
35 % of recovered factories organize cultural and educational events, programmes.
30 % of recovered factories make donations to organizatins of community (
Hospitals, school. Etc)

An overview of Movement of recovered factories by