The Socialist Worker Online reported earlier today: Vestas plant occupied :
A group of workers have occupied the Vestas plant on the Isle of Wight. Their brave stand is in defence of 600 jobs under threat and to keep production going at almost the only British producer of wind turbines.
The government says it plans to create a million “green jobs”. Meanwhile, in the real world, this wind turbine factory is being closed and Labour does nothing.
All 600 workers at the factory face redundancy. The factory is the largest employer on the island.
Socialist Worker commented with the following statement when the news of the occupation broke:
“As workers at a wind turbine manufacturer, we were confident that as the recession took hold that green or renewable energy would be the area where many jobs could be created – not lost.
So we were horrified to find out that our jobs were moving abroad and that more than 525 jobs from the Isle of Wight and Southampton were going to be added to the already poor state of island unemployment.
This has sent, and will continue to send, shockwaves of uncertainty through countless families on the island – many of which are being forced to relocate away from the island.
We find this hard to stomach as the government are getting away with claiming they are investing heavily in these types of industry.
Only last week they said they would create 400,000 green jobs. How can the process start with 600 of us losing our jobs?
Now I’m not sure about you but we think it’s about time that if the government can spends billions bailing out the banks – and even nationalise them – then surely they can do the same at Vestas.
The people of Vestas matter, and the people of the island matter, but equally importantly the people of this planet matter. We will not be brushed under the carpet by a government which is claiming to help us.
We have occupied our factory and call on the government to step in and nationalise it. We and many others believe it is essential that we continue to keep our factory open for our families and livelihoods, but also for the future of the planet.
We call on Ed Milliband as the relevant minister to come to the island and tell us to our face why it makes sense for the government to launch a campaign to expand green energy at the same moment as the country’s only major wind turbine producer closes.”
SR welcomes the courage and decisiveness of the workers at Vestas Blades. Your actions challenge the hypocrisy of the government – and the myth that the hidden hand of the market will spread renewable energy. As Germany shows, the only guarantee for wind power is for trade union members and environmental campaigners to fight for state action: its Renewable Energy Act has produced more than 100,000 jobs.
Unite the union is urging the government to work with management at Vestas to save England’s only wind turbine manufacturing plants at the Isle of Wight and Southampton which are to close on Friday 24th July, with the loss of 625 jobs and the transfer of production to China and the US.
Unite is supporting Vestas workers in their fight for their future. Not only will 625 workers lose their jobs the effect on the local community will be devastating. It is not easy for an Island economy to recover from such a serious blow, with up to a quarter of the manufacturing jobs on the island threatened.
If the government is serious about meeting its legally binding target on renewable energy and climate change targets, and meeting last week’s pledge for 400,000 green jobs, it needs to take action to save England’s only wind turbine manufacturing capacity.
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