Vestas Workers Fight On

Vestas ProtestOn 22 September, dozens of police from Southampton and Portsmouth descended on the protest camp outside the Vestas factory on the Isle of Wight (IOW). They removed tents, personal and political material and served ‘exclusion notices’ to several Vestas workers who were told to stay away from the Vestas factory for the next three months. This assault on the right to peaceful protest was to ensure Vestas were able to remove blades from the factory and secure future access to the plant. The police presence also included two police launches and a rib, a helicopter and police plane! Despite the heavy police presence workers were not intimidated and were able to protest at the company/police action and speak to the press about the ongoing campaign. “Even some of the police spoke to us and gave their support to the fight for jobs and the environment,” explained Mark Smith, a Vestas worker. “The campaign will continue, we will continue to fight for our reinstatement and our redundancy money and for the nationalisation of Vestas. We will also challenge the council on its strategy to reduce the carbon footprint on the IOW and their rejection of wind turbine technology. “There will be a permanent presence at the factory to highlight the campaign and for people to visit. We are also discussing the idea of standing an election candidate on the IOW to take up these issues. “This is something we have raised more and more at our meetings across the country and was raised at the demonstration at Labour Party conference on Sunday. “We can see how this will develop further, not just about Vestas, it’s just one part of it. We are continuing to fight our tribunals with the support of our trade union, the RMT. “There are other strikes taking place on the IOW and we are giving our support. “We will be holding a meeting to discuss how this fight can help build wider support for the trade unions on the IOW and how our struggle can be built on.”

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