Socialist Worker

Solidarity and the siege of Vestas

by Tom Walker in the Isle of Wight
Issue No. 2161

The workers occupation of Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight saw both impressive displays of solidarity and an escalation from management against the workers on Wednesday.

Some 200 people protested outside the plant in Newport in solidarity with the occupying workers fight to save jobs.

Leanne Godley told Socialist Worker, “My husband is inside and I am really proud of him. I am a little scared but proud. I am really disgusted at how management have behaved. I am surprised at how much support there has been. They have done so well.”

Management issued an ultimatum to the workers saying they planned to release a statement. If the workers came out of occupation before the statement was released then they would keep their redundancy pay. If they came out after the statement then they would lose their redundancy pay.

Steve a Vestas worker addressed the protest outside and asked what the occupying workers should do. “Stay” was the unanimous shout.

The workers voted to stay in.

Attempts to prevent food getting to the workers failed earlier today. So management responded buy constructing a steel fence round the plant.

Tracey a Vestas worker said, “We tried to get in on the first day but we didn’t make it. We have being trying to get food in. I think they are trying to starve them out.”

Mick, a RMT member on the Isle of Wight ferries, said, “I think the fence is a sign of the company’s weakness. They have tried police and all the rest. They have put up notices. The sure the workers have a huge boost from the demo. I think it is a fantastic and people are starting to hear the message.”

The steel fence is now covered in slogans. The police issued a dispersal order but the workers and supporters on the outside have stayed. The mood of the picket outside the factory is defiant and children took down the police tape to play with it as passing cars honked support.

Glen, a Vestas worker said, “I’ve worked here for nine years. For the service I have put in the redundancy is rubbish. They have made this into a siege. Not letting them have food sums this company up.”

Doug another worker said, “I’m not walking away. I asked my six year old what I should do. He said do what is right. How can this company make us redundant one day and announce massive profits the next.”

Workers from the plant have been out leafleting across the island building support. They received more than an £1000 in donations today including £150 from both Newport FBU and Newport Unison.

Text messages of support to 07980 703 115, 07970 739 921 and 07733 388 888. Email messages to [email protected]

Send donations to Ryde and East Wight Trades Union Council, 22 Church Lane, Ryde, Isle of Wight, PO33 2NB

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