By Tom Anderson
Arms manufacturer ITT has split into three independent companies. Its arms manufacturing business will be renamed ITT Exelis, its Industrial Process and Flow Control division will keep the ITT name, while the Water and Waste division will become Xylem. The companies will be listed separately on the New York Stock Exchange. There has also been speculation that US arms giant Raytheon may buy ITT Exelis.
In the UK, ITT has two arms manufacturing sites in Brighton and Basingstoke and both are now part of Exelis. The Brighton factory manufactures trigger mechanisms and ejector units for the bomb-racks of fighter aircraft for the US, UK and Israeli militaries. It has been the subject of a seven-year-long campaign of direct action by campaign group Smash EDO.
Since the formation of Exelis the company has laid off more than 200 employees at its Fort Wayne facility in Indiana. Job cuts have also been announced for 2012 at Exelis’ US plants in Roanoke County, Massachusetts and its factory in Thousand Oaks, California is set for closure. The job losses have been attributed to a loss of contracts owing to US troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Smash EDO is planning a “Summer of Resistance” from Mayday 2012 onwards. The campaign is calling for groups to come to Brighton in May and June 2012 and take action against the factory. For more information see www.smashedo.org.uk