Nationalise Vestas Now!

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Workers who have been occupying Vestas Wind Systems wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight since 20th July, against its closure and the loss of 625 jobs, left the building yesterday.

Bailiffs entered the offices at the Newport site at 12 noon after the firm was granted a possession order.

The workers have been occupying an office inside the plant since 20 July.

One of the former Newport factory occupiers, Chris Ash told News Line yesterday: ‘There were six people left. Two of them abseiled off the balcony using ropes.

‘There were four left when the bailiffs broke in.

‘Tomorrow’s march and rally is going ahead. So is next Wednesday’s Day of Action.

‘We’re asking people throughout the UK on Wednesday to occupy, hang banners supporting Vestas workers, down tools for an hour or 24 hours – whatever they feel is appropriate.’

The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) general secretary Bob Crow and RMT president John Leach, a Unite and a TUC official and two Vestas workers met Energy Minister Joan Ruddock on Thursday to discuss the closure.

At the meeting Ruddock said that the government had offered finance to Vestas and even to buy it but the company was not interested.

One of the defiant last six occupiers, Mark Smith told News Line: ‘This fight goes on.

‘We’re going to fight even harder now.

‘It was our occupation that pushed the issue, it definitely had a big effect.

‘Other people will be following our example.

‘Nationalisation is a good idea, we need proper guidance but there are plenty of people out there to help us.

‘If the government was interested they should nationalise.

‘We want the unions to step up their campaign, they said they were with us all the way.

‘The trouble is the union leaders are too closely linked with the government.

‘We need leaders that stand up for the workers and their members.’

One of the Vestas workers who was present at the meeting with Ruddock, RMT member Sean McDonagh told News Line: ‘It was good we got the meeting, that we heard it from the horse’s mouth.

‘All the government said is they would help the sacked men to get reinstated so they get their redundancy – it was a sham.

‘We had the TUC, RMT and Unite there, hopefully they will do something.

‘The government did show they are weak, if the unions could force it to nationalise Vestas it would be good.

‘Nationalisation would be good if that can be done.

‘We’re going ahead with our march and rally tomorrow. This is not the end.’

Bob Crow said yesterday: ‘The workers involved in this occupation can hold their heads up high and be proud of the brave fight they have put up for green jobs. . . .

‘RMT will continue to work to get the best possible deal for the Vestas workforce and specifically the workers sacked during the occupation.’

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman told News Line yesterday: ‘As we have said, it’s disappointing that Vestas seems about to take the final commercial decision to close the factory.

It’s a difficult time for workers who face losing their jobs.’