Militant Organon workers demonstrate in Oss

17 July 2010

Militant Organon workers demonstrate in Oss

More than a thousand people converged on Oss town centre to protest against the loss of almost 2,200 jobs at Organon, a locally-based but internationally-renowned pharmaceutical firm. 'This is the purest example of destruction for profit maximisation for the benefit of the shareholders of the American MSD', said an angry Organon employee, referring to the US parent corporation. 'Everyone in Oss has a family member working at the firm. This is a tragedy for many families.' The mood of the workers is one of sorrow and anger, but militancy is growing.

SP leader Emile Roemer was one of a range of speakers who expressed their displeasure at the mass redundancy. He called on Economics Minister Maria van der Hoeven to take action: "Get on to a plane to the States, go on my behalf to Obama's office, sit on the table and don't come back until it's settled." For the workers present Roemer had this message: "Of one thing you can be certain: we are right behind you and will give you all the help we can."

Emile Roemer speaks

Economist Arnold Heertje described the situation as "a horrible excrescence of finance capitalism." Heertje, a University of Amsterdam professor emeritus, said that not only would a great deal of knowledge be lost, but also any prospect of work for young people. "That's the greatest destruction," he said.

Former SP leader Jan Marijnissen, a native and lifelong resident of Oss, was at the head of the demonstration. In his speech he said that "Organon has been the heart of the town for ninety years. It is proud of Oss. Now this heart has been maliciously broken. Totally unnecessarily. This is impossible." Of Minister of Economic Affairs Maria van der Hoeven, Marijnissen had nothing good to say. "The Netherlands is being picked clean and all Van der Hoeven does, after a great deal of urging, is make a quick phone call to the States."

At the end of the demonstration the Organon workers and the inhabitants of Oss added their signatures to an enormous card to be sent to the MSD management in the United States.

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