Socialist Worker

Step up support for Vestas occupiers

by Siân Ruddick in Newport, Isle of Wight
Issue No. 2162

Activists in the Isle of Wight are stepping up their campaign in support of the occupying Vestas workers, who will have been in occupation for two weeks tonight.

An organising meeting on Sunday morning brought together Vestas workers, RMT union reps and activists. They drew together a plan of action to build as much support as possible for the protest outside Newport County Court on Tuesday, where management will try again to get an injunction against the workers to evict them from the occupation.

Teams of people left the site with hundreds of leaflets to target different busy parts of the island. Many went to Cowes, a town on the coast nearby where a week-long festival is being held. The support and response from local people was fantastic, with many talking of how the factory’s closure would affect them.

Workers at Gurit, whose plant is opposite Vestas, make the resins for the turbine blades. They face destruction is Vestas closes. One worker from the plant told Socialist Worker, “I’ve had my full time hours cut to 24 with no discussion. The next thing will be job cuts. We’re not unionised but we’ve got to do something. I’ll be coming down to the court on Tuesday to show my support.”

Other campaigners went into Newport to leaflet for the court protest, and drum up support for the Fight for the Right to Work meeting being held tonight in the town, with speakers from the RMT, Ron Clarke, an ex-Visteon worker, and Mark, a Vestas worker.

Activists who have been camping on the roundabout at the site organised a family fun day for the children and families of workers. There were cakes, games, face painting as well as a brilliant banner-making workshop, which saw a glittery “Save Vestas” banner made by children.

The GKN Aerospace factory in Cowes and other workplaces were being leafleted on Monday to encourage them to take action in solidarity with the occupation.

The main focus is getting as many people as possible outside of the court tomorrow to put pressure on the bosses and the judge. This will show that the occupying workers are far from alone, and their supporters will not allow them to be beaten.

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