Trade unions must support Vestas occupation and fight for its nationalisation!

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THE Vestas wind turbine factory in the Isle of Wight has been occupied by workers who are determined to fight for their jobs, and faced with closure tomorrow are demanding that the plant be nationalised.

The employer has sought to intimidate the workers by saying that if they do not quit the plant they will be sacked without redundancy pay.

This threat has been rejected with contempt by the workers, and they are demanding that the government nationalise the plant.

In the statement that the workforce made last Tuesday they clearly stated: ‘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. . . .

‘We have occupied our factory and call on the government to step in and nationalise it.’

This courageous stand has the full support of the working class of the UK and Europe. It has however split the trade union leaders.

The RMT spoke out yesterday and ‘pledged full support to the workers occupying the Vestas wind turbine factory’ with its general secretary Bob Crow to make a solidarity visit to the occupation at 6pm this evening.

Crow said yesterday ‘They deserve the full support of the whole trade union movement. The fact that an activist has been arrested this morning passing food to the occupation shows that the police are now involved in a drive to starve the workers out. That’s a disgrace.’

He added: ‘The government should nationalise the factory’.

The Unite trade union leaders however oppose occupations and oppose any demands by the trade unions on the government to nationalise plants that are threatened with closure.

Its ‘support’ was limited to a statement by John Rowse, Unite national secretary for manufacturing, saying: ‘It is not too late to save these plants. If the government addresses the blockages in the planning system to counter the “Not-in-my-back-yard” then there will be massively increased demand for wind turbines.

‘We urge the government to match its green rhetoric with action to support green jobs, saving Vestas would send out a clear message that it is serious about saving the environment as well as supporting UK manufacturing.’

Unite does not support the occupation and it does not support the demand that the plant be nationalised. This is because it is in full support of the Brown government and believes that in a period of slump workers should give up the fight for their rights, including the right to work.

News Line calls on the TUC and all of the trade unions to follow the lead of the RMT, to support the occupation, to support Friday’s demonstration on the Isle of Wight in support of the occupation, to organise collections and deliveries of food so that the occupiers are not starved out, and to organise solidarity strike action up and down the country to secure the nationalisation of the plant.

The TUC must call a one day general strike in support of the occupiers and follow that up with an indefinite general strike to win the nationalisation of the plant through bringing down the Brown government and bringing in a workers’ government. This is the way to fight the threat of mass unemployment.