Details

Duration: 45'

Release Year: 2016

Country: Croatia

Director: Vedrana Pribačić

Production: Manevar, HRT

About the Director

VEDRANA PRIBAČIĆ is a documentary director with an international background as reporter. Some of here early works had been broadcast by the CNN, while she debuted as a filmmaker in 2014 with Pannonian challenge. The Factory is Ours! is Vedrana's first authored work.

Screenings

Berlin Mov(i)e Activism 2018 (Germany)

Liburnia Film Festival 2017 (Croatia)

Awards

Audience awards at the Liburnia Film Festival 2017

Special mention from the jury at the Liburnia Film Festival 2017

About the activist

The worker that mobilised his colleagues and initiated the movement inside ITAS is the long-time trade union commissioner Dragutin Varga. To save the beloved factory he had to learn everything he could about the stock market and labour laws. Even his family wasn't able to convince him that he was fighting for a cause that was already lost. He decided to continue his battle and prove eventually that in such a case the solution can't be humility and obedience. He and the other workers of ITAS showed that people can and should respond to social injustice − even under the risk of losing a job, physical threats or lawsuits. In the worker-managed company, Dragutin plays a crucial role as a mentor for the younger generations of workers, which are considered as the most valuable asset of the company.

Trailer | The Factory is Ours!

About the film and the factory

The Factory is Ours! tells the story of a small but united group of industrial workers who took control over their factory after 11 years of struggle. Founded in 1960 in Ivanec, Croatia, ITAS has been a second home for many a year to most of the workers employed in it and it has been the most important economic factor for the whole town. Besides, this small factory was part of Prvomajska, one the most successful factories in Yugoslavia. But − like most of the local factories − it went through a harsh privatisation process brought about by the fall of the country and the subsequent shifts towards capitalist democracy.

Back in 2005, the newly arrived owners of ITAS almost ruined a profitable company and everything that the workers had been building ever since the 1960s. The owners wanted to make a short-term profit out of the liquidation process by selling the land on which the factory stands as real-estate without paying any attention to the future of the company and its employees. But despite having already heard so many similar stories from the region that hadn't come to a happy end, this group decided to stand up and fight back to defend what was theirs: their factory − their life.

After they stopped receiving their paychecks, fed up by their strikes and protests being ignored, the workers said simply "enough" to their bosses, the bankruptcy trustees, the corrupted privatisation system and even the law: they occupied their factory and blocked the access to the factory. But their illegal act was merely a response to a much bigger illegal act, and it was an attempt to stop what could be interpreted as a forethought robbery − a profit-driven privatisation and liquidation scheme. And when the owners went for a drastic measure and cut off the electricity, the group replied with a hunger strike to make their voices heard and to get electricity back to resume production and carry on with their lifes and activities as workers.

This film is a touching introspection of a group of colleagues and friends that showed how determined workers can defend their company, run it, modernise it, and finally bring it to a higher level while still caring for the wellbeing of each and every employee as well as investing in the schooling of new generations. Today their company is called ITAS-Prvomajska, it counts around 200 workers, it operates in 5 foreign markets and exports 95% of the products. However, the true sensation is that the company is very successfully owned and managed solely by its workers. Actually, it is the only example of true workers self-management in Croatia.