Socialist Worker

'I want the government to nationalise Vestas'

Mark Smith, an occupying Vestas worker, spoke to Socialist Worker about the impact of the struggle

Issue No. 2163

‘This experience has had a very positive effect on people.

People are saying we’re heroes, but really we’re just a focal point for everyone else who is wondering whether they should fight back or not.

We’ve spoken to the Thomas Cook occupiers and sent messages of support.

It’s good to know that people can take a stand.

Bosses should think twice before they act.

They should think about the effect their plans have on ordinary people and on the island.

We need full time, solid jobs here if the next generation is going to survive.

Lots of jobs are tourism-related, so in summer it’s fine. But in winter there is lots of unemployment.

Most jobs outside manufacturing are part time.

The fact that we make wind turbines, something that is so desperately needed, makes me think that the government should tell Vestas to stay and make the place work.

Two months ago I never would have thought I’d be in here.

But the importance of what we’re producing, and the future of our families made us stand up.

All of the phone calls, text messages, and collections to support us have changed the way I see people.

I want the government to nationalise Vestas, or get another wind turbine company in to take the plant on.

The government needs to take action.

We were so shocked when Vestas announced we had no jobs, we didn’t know what to say. We were gobsmacked.

Lots of people don’t want to work for the company because of the way they have been treated by the bosses.

We had such high production targets and if we were behind we used to end up doing overtime and working late.

They used to change our shift patterns all the time.

But if you complained, the bosses would just say, “If you don’t like it you know where to go”.

The plant was supposed to be being converted to use new technology to make turbines that can be used on-shore and off-shore.

We met all the targets and all the criteria that we needed to fulfil for them to invest.

People got out new mortgages and made plans for their futures, thinking they had a secure job.

But they didn’t. Vestas has let them down.’

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