LIP (company)

LIPLip companyLIP conflictLip" affair
LIP is a French watch and clock company whose turmoil became emblematic of the conflicts between workers and management in France.wikipedia
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Besançon

BesanconBesaconBesançon University
The LIP factory, based in Besançon in eastern France, began to experience financial problems in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and management decided to attempt a factory shutdown.
The famous "Lip" affair epitomizes the industrial crisis.

Occupation of factories

factory occupationsfactory occupationoccupation
However, after strikes and a highly publicized factory occupation in 1973, LIP became worker-managed.
Lip factory in France in 1973

Unified Socialist Party (France)

Unified Socialist PartyPSUParti Socialiste Unifié
The Unified Socialist Party (PSU), which included former Radical Pierre Mendès-France, was then in favor of autogestion (workers' self-management).
The PSU supported the self-managed Lip factory.

Workers' self-management

self-managementautogestionworker self-management
The Unified Socialist Party (PSU), which included former Radical Pierre Mendès-France, was then in favor of autogestion (workers' self-management).
After May 68 in France, LIP factory, a clockwork factory based in Besançon, became self-managed starting in 1973 after the management's decision to liquidate it. The LIP experience was an emblematic social conflict of post-68 in France.

Electric watch

electromechanical watchelectronic watchelectronic watches
The company launched the first electronic watch in 1952, called "Electronic" (considered 'electronic' rather than electric due to the presence of a diode).
Fixed coil system, contact controlled: watches with a piece of refined iron attached to the balance wheel, a fixed coil and mechanical contacts. In order to extend the life of the watch, some of these movements included a diode to minimize sparking on the contacts. Examples of this technology are Lip electronic R 27, LIP R 148, Elgin electronic 722, 725, 910 which were the smallest electronic movements ever made and Landeron (ESA - Ebauches S.A.) 4750.

Michel Rocard

Prime Minister RocardRocard government
Michel Rocard, then national secretary of the PSU, took part in the sale of the watches.
In 1973–74, he participated in the LIP conflict, selling watches with the workers and participating, behind the scenes, in the attempts to find an employer who would take back the factory, which was on the verge of being liquidated.

Union of the Socialist Left

UGS
Piaget participated in some meetings of the ACO (Action Catholique Ouvrière, Workers' Catholic Action), and then joined the Union de la gauche socialiste (UGS, Union of the Socialist Left) during the Algerian War (1954–62).
LIP

Assembly line

assemblyassembly linesassembly-line
Semi-skilled workers on the assembly line were not allowed to talk or move more than 25 centimeters (less than ten inches) during their shifts.
Charles Piaget, a skilled worker at the LIP factory, recalled that beside being prohibited from speaking, the semi-skilled workers had only 25 centimeters in which to move.

Roger Tallon

Mach 2000: Conceived by Roger Tallon, the designer of the TGV high-speed train.
Brother-in-arms with the LIP watchmakers, he created the Mach 2000 brand of watches and chronometers.

Larzac

Causse du LarzacLarzac plateau
LIP workers took part in the 1973-74 struggle in the Larzac against the extension of a military base ( photos).
The workers of the occupied and self-managed Lip factory also took part in the movement.

Jean-Claude Sensemat

Jean-Claude Sensemat then bought the brand in 1990, and relaunched the production with modern marketing methods.
In 1990, he purchased LIP, the renowned watchmaking company that was then in difficulty, and relaunched it. Then, in 1992 he acquired other brands: Achille Zavatta, Teppaz, and Luis Ocaña.

France in the twentieth century

modern France20th centuryearly Modern period
Fifth Republic (France) and France in the twentieth century
They included the occupation of the Lip factory in 1973, which led to an experience in workers' self-management, supported by the CFDT, the Unified Socialist Party (PSU) and all of the far-left movements.

Strike action

strikestrikeslabor strike
However, after strikes and a highly publicized factory occupation in 1973, LIP became worker-managed.

Termination of employment

firedterminationterminated
All the fired employees were rehired by March 1974, but the firm was liquidated again in the spring of 1976.

Libération

LiberationEcransLa Libération
This led to a new struggle, called "the social conflict of the 1970s" by the daily newspaper Libération.

Radical Party (France)

Radical PartyPRRadical
The Unified Socialist Party (PSU), which included former Radical Pierre Mendès-France, was then in favor of autogestion (workers' self-management).

Pierre Mendès France

Pierre Mendès-FranceFrench presidentMendesism
The Unified Socialist Party (PSU), which included former Radical Pierre Mendès-France, was then in favor of autogestion (workers' self-management).

History of the Jews in France

FranceJewishFrench Jewish
In 1807, the Jewish community of Besançon offered a mechanical pocket watch to Napoleon.

Napoleon

Napoleon BonaparteNapoleon INapoleonic
In 1807, the Jewish community of Besançon offered a mechanical pocket watch to Napoleon.

Stopwatch

stopwatchesstop watchhand-timed
The firm launched the Lip stopwatch in 1896.

Diode

semiconductor diodediodessilicon diode
The company launched the first electronic watch in 1952, called "Electronic" (considered 'electronic' rather than electric due to the presence of a diode).

Charles de Gaulle

de GaulleGeneral de GaulleGénéral de Gaulle
The first 'Electronic' models were worn by Charles de Gaulle and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower; while previously in 1948, LIP's iconic T18 model was offered to Winston Churchill.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

EisenhowerDwight EisenhowerPresident Eisenhower
The first 'Electronic' models were worn by Charles de Gaulle and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower; while previously in 1948, LIP's iconic T18 model was offered to Winston Churchill.

Winston Churchill

ChurchillSir Winston ChurchillChurchill, Winston
The first 'Electronic' models were worn by Charles de Gaulle and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower; while previously in 1948, LIP's iconic T18 model was offered to Winston Churchill.