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Palestine Action: we have forced closure of Israeli UK weapons plant

The Palestine Action group says it has forced the closure of the Elbit Ferranti electronic weapons plant in Oldham, after a sustained campaign of direct action made it unsustainable.

A statement released by the group reads:

– Palestine Action’s sustained campaign of direct action against Elbit Ferranti in Oldham proves ultimately successful as Elbit sell the subsidiary and pack their bags.
– The Power and Control Business of Ferranti Technologies has been sold to TT Electronics, as Elbit undertake huge business restructuring after over a year of targetted action taken at the Oldham site.
– Occupations of the site have caused weeks of forced factory closure, and have cost millions in damages to the company. At the end of November 2021, Elbit began packing up their Oldham operation – now the majority of the Ferranti business has been sold off.
– Palestine Action: “Direct action works – the brave individuals who occupied the factory over the past year can proudly say that drone technologies are no longer in production in Oldham”.

After 18 months of sustained direct action taken at the Elbit Ferranti site in Oldham, Greater Manchester, with 36 people arrested, Elbit have now sold Ferranti technologies, with its continued operation in Oldham appearing unfeasible. Activists have occupied, blockaded, smashed, disrupted, and protested regularly at the site, ultimately succeeding in ending the factory’s production of specialist military technologies for Israel’s fleet of combat drones. 

In November 2021, anonymous sources revealed to Palestine Action that mass redundancy notices had been issued to staff working at the factory, and that premises were being cleared in preparation for Elbit leaving the site. Today, it was publicised that Ferranti has indeed been sold to TT Electronics, a British electronics firm. This major restructuring – selling a subsidiary which Elbit has consistently promoted as a success and which has helped Elbit to land multi-million pound contracts with the British government – suggests that Elbit is under significant pressure to tighten its UK operations. This is most likely due to the impossibility of continuing at the often-occupied site, the massive financial impact of occupations, and an attempt to avoid more bad publicity.

Early in 2021, Elbit attempted to make the Oldham factory a viable production site by improving security. Elbit increased spending massively for round-the-clock security, and also benefitted from a rapid police response for protestor removal. Neither of these measures succeeded in keeping out activists, with the site continuing to be targetted regularly.

The first action taken in Oldham by Palestine Action, in late August 2020, involved spraying premises in blood-red paint, symbolising the Palestinian bloodshed made possible with Elbit Ferranti technologies. Following this, actions accelerated. Windows were smashed in an occupation in November 2020, while an action taken in collaboration with XR North in February 2021 caused over £20,000 in damages. In April 2021, activists not only occupied the site but gained entry to the factoy, smashing the roof, windows, air vents, and undermining future operations by covering equipment and computers in red paint – over £100,000 of damages were caused, and the site remained shut for well over a week. On July 5th, three activists gained entry to the site, allegedly causing £500,000 of damage and closing the factory for a number of weeks. More recently, in August of this year, activists blockaded the factory – blocking roads with vehcles and locking onto gates – and occupied the factory itself again. There have been a number of other actions taken at the Oldham site, with the factory forced to closed for a significant number of weeks in total due to damage caused.

The site has also been subject to regular protests called by Oldham Peace and Justice and Manchester Palestine Action, with large crowds gathering outside the factory on a weekly basis since the massive and brutal bombardments of Gaza by Israel in May. Sustained pressure, through both protests and an extended campaign of effective direct action, has generated immense challenges for Elbit, who have now sold the subsidiary and left the site.

A Palestine Action spokesperson has stated:

“The sale of Ferranti and the closure of the Oldham factory is a huge victory for the movement. So far, our actions have undermined and disrupted operations – but this news vindicates our long-term strategy. Direct action works – the brave individuals who occupied the factory over the past year can proudly say that drone technologies are no longer in production in Oldham. But its not enough that just one of these death-factories shuts down. We want to see Elbit itself shut down for good, and all of their businesses forced out of Britain – we will keep escalating our actions until that happens.”

This site had been targeted due to the crimes committed against Palestinian civilians using Elbit Ferranti products. The Oldham factory was used for the manufacture of specialist military products and technology, including the SkEye persistent surveillance system aboard Elbit’s Hermes 450 and 900 drones. Ferranti also manufacture the SpectroXR ultra long-range imaging system for Hermes drones. Hermes drones have been used extensively by Israel in bombardments of Gaza, notably during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 in which over 2,200 Palestinians were killed, including 526 children. The site was also used for the production of IronVision helmets for use in battle tanks such as the Carmel – specficially designed for operations in densely built urban areas, such as Gaza.

A statement on the Ferranti Technologies news page says that the business has been restructured as a prelude to further expansion of its UK operations, but the list of remaining activities appears not to include manufacture of drone surveillance systems, while images shown in the article show training simulators:

Elbit Systems Reorganizes UK Activities

Sells Ferranti’s Power and Control Business

Haifa, Israel, January 10, 2022 – Elbit Systems Ltd(NASDAQ:ESLT and TASE: ESLT) (“Elbit Systems” or the “Company”) announced today that its UK subsidiary, Elbit Systems UK Ltd. (“Elbit Systems UK”), has sold the Power and Control Business of its subsidiary Ferranti Technologies Ltd. (“Ferranti”), to TT Electronics (UK) Plc. (LSE: TTG.L) for approximately $12 million (approximately £9 million) in cash, subject to customary post-completion working capital adjustments.

The remaining business of Ferranti, including training and simulation, avionics, display systems, aircrew survival systems, platform protection and computing, are planned to be integrated into Elbit Systems UK.

Martin Fausset, CEO of Elbit Systems UK, said: “This reorganization is part of our strategy to focus activities on certain areas in order to support the continuous expansion of our operations and collaborations in the UK.”

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    1. Does keef know you’re saying things like this?

      I think someone ought to grass you up to him. See how long your all-important membership lasts then, eh? 😏

      1. If Marie van der Zyl sees that first comment there’ll be hell to pay.

    2. Yet ANOTHER *FIRST* by SteveH, and within THREE minutes of the email notification going out to subscribers!

      What a joke!!

      1. Yes, and the joke was of course – given what I’d said in the thread prior to this one about how often you post the first comment – for you to post the first comment in the following thread – ie THIS one – knowing of course that I would at some point see that another article has been posted, read it, and then see that you’ve posted the first comment again, and do so so as to amuse yourself and the ‘army’ of shills that you work with across social media and left-wing blogs etc.

        I expect you live for such thrills! Twot!!

      2. Allan – Perhaps you should be asking yourself who is the butt of the joke here?

  1. Incredible courage and perseverance, the same that helped make our country a civilised place and which is now being fast eroded by vested interests

  2. A member of Palestine Action told the PA news agency: “We will continue to take direct action until we shut Elbit down and end all complicity in systematic injustice.”

    Well done Palestine Action. Well done Oldham Peace and Justice . Well done large crowds gathering outside the factory on a weekly basis since the massive and brutal bombardments of Gaza by Israel in May last year.

  3. Too much gushing over the trendy Palestinian cause on this site. What about the ordinary British workers who have/will lose their jobs? The wine bar socialists and anti semites don’t care about their working class citizens who will endure poverty and privation for their families.

    1. Plain citizen…you raise a good point,but thats still no longer any excuse otherwise Britain would be exporting murder and massacre on a daily basis j OH dear Britain does export murder and massacre on a daily basis for massive profits but employees are the last thought on the minds of the murder machine.UK LTD

      1. The following are estimates from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute 2020
        Rank Supplier Arms Exp (in billion TIV)
        1 United States —9,372
        2 Russia————-3,203
        3 France ————1,995
        4 Spain ————–1,232
        5 Germany ———1,201
        6 South Korea ——-827
        7 Italy ——————806
        8 China —————760
        9 Netherlands ——-488
        10 United Kingdom –429
        11 Iran ——————142
        Overall global arms exports rose of about 6 per-cent in the last 5 years compared to the period 2010-2014 and increased by 20 per-cent since 2005–2009.[16]

    2. Switch their jobs to Green Energy manufacture Mr PC….instead of arms. Much better for humanity don’t you think?

      Now let me see, what political party and Leader proposed that in 2017 and was undermined by his own party?

    3. PC’s concern for workers in the UK who may face the prospect of unemployment are, I’m sure, genuine and are felt by many. It is a strategy used by the rich and powerful to divide the rest of us and to set us against each other.
      Back in the day, when Pinochet was ravaging Chile, workers in Scotland refused to service the Chilean airforce planes. This risked their own jobs but the stood in solidarity with the oppressed in Chile. [There is a film called Ne Pasaran, I think, which tells the story.] If our trades unions had still been the force that they were back then, and they had had the same class consciousness that they had back then, maybe the Oldham workforce would have stood with their Palestinian brothers and sisters. Given that this was not the case, others had to step forward. To call those others “wine bar socialists and anti semites” is a vile insult. Call them misguided, wrong, simplistic or whatever if you disagree with their actions but don’t slander them. Your typical “wine bar socialist” is Mandelson and your typical “antisemite” currently seems to be busy expelling Jews from the LP.

    4. Is there too much egg in Eggs Benedict, too much hollandaise ingredient in Hollandaise Sauce?

      Of course not – they’re essntial to the recipe.

      Well PC we are socialists – Peace, Justice and Love is what we do!

      afwiw – do you actually know what ‘working class’ means?

    5. Vexatious claims of anti semitism are hate crimes and should be prosecuted
      Your nicked

  4. Just read an interesting book on the lumpen nationalist thug Mussolini in Italy whose bedrock of support was from the lower middle class and upper class similar nationalist lumpen thugs.
    They illegally used tons of mustard gas in Ethiopia and poison from their planes as they slaughtered the massively out gunned poor Ethiopians to steal their land and resources.
    The production of such gas and poisons created a lot of jobs in Italy and a lot of profit for the capitalist owners.
    Oh Toffee, I took someone’s advice and had a quick look on SteveH’s Twitter stream and there he was calling for more purges of the Left in Labour to remove anti-semitism from the party.
    He presents snippets of information daily but demonstrates a complete lack of critical thinking and poor analytical skills falling for the rich and powerful’s narrative on AS and Corbyn’s Labour.
    James Stern Weiner (2019) ‘Anti-Semitism and The Labour Party’ shows that out of 500,000 members 148 were expelled, removed or quit in 2019 that’s 0.00298%.
    And from a large study Weiner shows for those agreeing with 5 AS statements it was 2.5% for the Left, 4% for the Centre, 4.4% for the Right and 13% for the Far Right.
    But this was all about getting rid of Corbyn who would have been an HONEST BROKER in the Middle East unlike Biden who puts US imperial interests first (oil, arms sales, capitalist inward and outward investment) so from the perspective of the rich and powerful JC had to go.
    Just read Bernard Regan, The Balfour Declaration.
    Justice for Palestinians, The Right of Palestinian Refugees to Return, One Democratic State respecting all religions, and Peace To All in the Region.
    Diverse working people of the World Unite!

    1. Bazza – Please don’t infer that the twitter account you have been looking at has anything to do with me. I have never had a Twitter account.

      1. Stevieh, don’t assume that every time we see something rotten and dispicable on twitter, that we think “thatmustbe Steve H Hall’s. We don’t.

      2. qwertboi – What’s your problem, are you bored? The above post by Bazza inaccurately refers to “SteveH’s” Twitter account. I was simply pointing out that the Twitter account that Bazza was referring to (or any other Twitter account) wasn’t in in way connected to me. Perhaps you should be chastising Bazza for his inaccurate and misleading post rather than berating me for correcting his post..
        Why are you trying to link me with some guy called Steve Hall when I have already made it clear that I have absolutely no connection with this individual, If you have any evidence to the contrary then please feel free to publish it. I won’t be holding my breath because I am 100% certain that no such evidence exists.

  5. As an aside……The Democratic Socialist Labour Party abstained on the vote last night to cap Govt spending on Welfare.
    Only 14 voted against.

    Consequently it went through. Labour is dead.

  6. baz 2001 thanks for the info and hope that the Labour party members are ashamed of that…just fourteen Mps had a sense of morality in the month they got a bumper pay rise in the thousands and the most vunerable denied a helping hand by the so called Opposition party….I hope posters see this as its worth remembering if you are still paying your subs for this meltdown of a Labour party.

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