iO Associates, the only recruitment company for Elbit Systems UK, removed all the 22 jobs it was recruiting for Elbit from its online platforms. Subsequently, Elbit Systems UK also removed all their job vacancies from its website. This happened soon after an occupation by activists who stormed inside iO’s offices in Manchester on Friday 1st September 2023, to demand the company stop recruiting for Elbit Systems UK.
The action happened the day after iO Associates announced the opening of their new offices in the Express Building Manchester City Centre. The group carried flags and a banner, which read ‘IO Associates recruiting for Elbit Murderers’. During the action, the iO Associates director, Ross Markall, assaulted several group members, including a 14 year old daughter of a journalist and smashed her phone.
iO Associates have Bristol, Reading, Newcastle, London and Manchester offices. They are the sole recruiters for Elbit Systems UK, the UK arm of Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer. Elbit Systems manufactures 85% of Israel’s military drone fleet, not only arming the Israeli military with these drones and developing the technology but also operating the drones alongside the military, directly assisting them in their attacks. They also supply the Israeli military with land-based equipment, bullets, tank components, rocket launchers and more. Most of their weaponry is marketed as “battle-tested” after being developed on the captive population of Gaza.
A five year local campaign and intense direct action forced Elbit Systems to shut down their Oldham weapons factory. Now, activists in the region have set their target on iO Associates, following numerous actions taken by Palestine Action against companies who work alongside the Israeli weapons manufacturer.
iO associates have yet to formally announce they are breaking ties with Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer, and they are still listed on Elbit’s job application form page. Many groups around the country are primed to take action if they continue to be complicit in Israel’s murderous crimes and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population.
Commenting on the action, Manchester Palestine Action said:
“While we are pleased all the job vacancies for Elbit Systems UK have been taken down, we won’t stop until iO Associates formally announce they are cutting ties. We in Manchester will not allow arms profiteers on our streets, least of all for Israel’s worst weapons manufacturer, Elbit Systems. We have a history of fighting injustice in all its forms, including the horrors of the arms trade and Apartheid regimes like Israel – just as we fought against the South African Apartheid regime.
Israel continues to massacre Palestinians, steal more land and imprison people for defending their homes from ethnic cleansing. We won’t stop until Elbit’s recruiters are kicked out of the city, and Elbit is forced out of Britain for good.”