Socialist Worker

Vestas occupation is part of struggle for the future

by Tom Walker
Issue No. 2161

Workers at the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight have joined the fight against ordinary people being made to suffer for the recession.

They occupied their factory, which faces closure, on Monday evening. Around 30 workers were inside the plant as Socialist Worker went to press, while supporters picketed outside.

Ian, one of the occupying workers, spoke to Socialist Worker from the management offices, where the occupation is based. He said, “We’re standing up for the future. I think it’s essential not to close places like this down.”

There are few jobs available on the Isle of Wight, with 60 applicants for every vacancy.

Ian said, “We would all struggle to get another job on the island. The recession’s hit everyone, but here we’ve had hundreds apply for one bar job.”

Workers are angry that management promised to expand the factory, only to announce that they were going to close it.

“We’ve worked like dogs and we’re getting nothing,” he said. “I’ve worked here for two years but I’m only getting three weeks’ pay for my redundancy.

“And we’re not just fighting for ourselves. This is a fight for everyone. The environment should be everyone’s concern. We need the government to start investing in wind farms and keep us open.”

The workers are organising inside the factory. “We’re having regular meetings,” said Ian. “Everyone’s playing their part.”

After the site was occupied, managers locked down the

factory and turned away workers who were coming in to do their last few days. Many of them joined the support rally outside.

Luke, another occupying worker, said, “There are a lot of people outside the factory. They’ve been cheering us on, keeping our spirits high.

“When I first heard about the closure I was in shock. But when we got organised I saw hope.

“I’m here for the long haul.”

Police in riot gear blockaded the doors in an attempt to stop supporters from getting food to those in the occupation.

“There are police at every door,” added Ian. “But we’ve brought the factory to a standstill. Support us in our fight to save Vestas. We’re standing up and saying—if the government can nationalise the banks it can nationalise Vestas.”

The workers need a hurricane of solidarity from trade unionists and campaigners to back up their fight for jobs and the planet.

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