Thirty-three in court over Timex protest

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THIRTY-THREE people appeared in court in Dundee yesterday following picket-line violence outside the Timex electronics plant on Monday. All pleaded not guilty to a range of charges, which included breach of the peace, police assault and attempts to rescue individuals from police custody.

Four of those accused were from Dundee, 11 from other parts of Scotland, 17 gave addresses in England and one a Welsh address. All were released on bail with some subjected to conditional bans that prevent them from going near the plant.

One of those charged was Sheena Macdonald, 22, a book- keeper from Glasgow, who denied assaulting police officers by driving a van at them. She also denied the alternative charge that she drove the vehicle dangerously at the officers. She was released on bail and ordered not to go within a mile of the plant.

Outside the factory gates there was little sign of Monday's battle, the worst violence of the three-month dispute. A handful of pickets jeered at a few cars entering the factory and conversed on first-name terms with police officers. According to both parties, none of those arrested on Monday was a former Timex employee.

It is more than 90 days since the company dismissed the entire assembly-line workforce and began recruiting and busing in replacement staff. Under United Kingdom labour law, Timex can now begin to selectively re-employ any of the 343 who were dismissed but the anticipated statement by Peter Hall, UK president of the US-owned company, on future recruitment plans did not materialise.

A source inside the factory said yesterday there had been a great deal of apprehension during the run-up to the 90-day mark, but 'there is now a feeling we have weathered the worst and survived. The weekend was supposed to be make or break. They didn't make it'.

Timex would not confirm yesterday whether it had begun offering jobs to sacked workers.