Vestas Workers: Organising Their Fight Back

At the end of this week the Vestas factory on the Isle of Wight, the only wind turbine factory in the UK, is scheduled to close, taking over 600 jobs with it – but the workers of Vestas are organising their fight back. Following the open meetings and the first tentative campaign steps reported in this paper two weeks ago events have moved fast.

On the 13th members from branches in Portsmouth and Southampton joined local activists and Vestas workers in Newport in the first public sign of action since the previous weeks open meeting. Public support is overwhelmingly in support for the workers and people qued in the pouring rain to sign petitions and write messages of support.

While this was taking place key workers were organising on the factory floor and the following week a workers campaign committee was formed to discuss demands and organise the internal fight back. Simultaneously some key organisers have joined a Unite and are now working to unionise the workforce.

Shamefully despite this progress local politicians continue to turn their backs on the workers. The Island’s Tory MP Andrew Turner has already washed his hands of the issue and now he is joined by Portsmouth North MP, Sarah McCarthy-Fry, who states that her new senior position in the treasury means she will not support the workers. What hope is there for a labour government if one of their senior treasury ministers supports job losses in the fledging green sector?

In spite of this the workers have continued to organise themselves and are confident of taking action to save their jobs before the factory is shut. Messages of support have rained in from across the county and members of Unite, the RMT, Unison, and the CWU have each shown their support for the workers struggle.

By the time this is in print action may have been taken or may be poised to start – the struggle has not been easy. Numerous external groups have descended on the campaign in an attempt to push their own agenda. Some efforts, while well intentioned, have served only to delay or confuse the issue. For many groups there will be harsh lessons to learn. Yet despite all this the workers of Vestas, who take courage from the victories of Visteon and Lindsey, continue to organise and we should all take inspiration from them.

 The Socialist Party stands shoulder to shoulder with the workers of Vestas in their struggle; we support their demands and call for:

 • Immediate union recognition • No to job cuts – Keep the factory open • Nationalise the factory under workers control – power to the shop floor • Make the plant a building block for a new publicly owned green sector to provide more jobs

Send your messages of solidarity and support to: savevestas@googlemail.com

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