The Socialist 21 July 2009 |
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Vestas jobs fightback
The Vestas factory on the Isle of Wight, the only wind turbine factory in the UK, is closing, taking over 600 jobs with it - but the workers of Vestas are organising their fightback. They began a factory occupation on 20 July.
Following the open meetings and the first tentative campaign steps reported in The Socialist two weeks ago, events have moved fast.
On 13 July Socialist Party members from branches in Portsmouth and Southampton joined local activists and Vestas workers in Newport, Isle of Wight, in the first public sign of action since the previous week's open meeting.
Public support is overwhelmingly in support of the workers and people queued in the pouring rain to sign petitions and write messages of support.
While this was taking place, key workers were organising on the factory floor.
The following week a workers' campaign committee was formed to discuss demands and organise the fightback. Some key organisers have joined a trade union and are now working to unionise the rest of the workforce.
Shamefully, despite this progress, local politicians continue to turn their backs on the workers.
The island's Tory MP Andrew Turner has already washed his hands of the issue and now he is joined by Portsmouth North MP, Sarah McCarthy-Fry, who is clearly more interested in her new position in the treasury. She refused to sign the petition supporting the workers.
Energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband has talked of the jobs that will be created as Britain reaches the target of 30% of electricity generation through renewable sources in the next ten years. Yet this does not seem to include jobs at Vestas.
In spite of this, the workers have continued to organise themselves.
Messages of support have rained in and members of Unite, the RMT, Unison, and the CWU have shown their support for the workers' struggle.
The Socialist Party stands shoulder to shoulder with the workers of Vestas in their struggle; we support their demands and call for:
- Immediate trade union recognition.
- No to job cuts - keep the factory open.
- Nationalise the factory under workers' control - power to the shop floor.
- Make the plant a building block for a new publicly owned green sector to provide more jobs and improve the environment.
Send your messages of solidarity and support to: firstname.lastname@example.org