Westside Action

a motley crew of anarchists and activists from Bristol, Bath and South Wales

Westside @ Vestas

Supporting the Vestas Workers on the Isle of Wight

We were planning to go to the Big Green Gathering – I was sitting in the front room with the kids and a friend sorting out everything to take to run our workshops when we heard the bad news

Where else could we go? What else could we do with the week? Supporting the Vestas workers seemed the obvious choice.

The day of the first injunction hearing we set off not knowing if the occupation would still be on, prepared to jump out of the car we had borrowed for the trip to help the workers. On the way we started to pick up Isle of Wight radio, Vestas’ application to remove the workers had been turned down – the case had been adjourned until the following week due to their failure to serve the papers properly.

When we arrived it looked like the RMT had just arrived, over the course of the next few days the Union seemed to be taking a bigger part in helping the workers. They agreed to help the non-unionised workers – negotiating with police and probably most importantly providing an institution that the police could understand.

While we were on the Isle of Wight one of the occupying workers left suffering from malnutrition, and was immediately hospitalised! At six every day workers and supporters spoke outside the gates – one day Bicycology turned up to provide a PA system, then stayed for the demonstration on Saturday 1st August. A pedal powered PA system outside a wind turbine factory – couldn’t do better really.

I managed to meet some of the workers and family members of the men inside – holding their babies up to the railings. Some had taken jobs in the last few months thinking that finally they had secure incomes for their families. They are skilled workers who can build any size turbines. The families were frustrated that well-heeled locals threw they energy into opposing turbines that would spoil the view from their twee cottages and country piles at the loss of local jobs. Vestas had stated in their support for an application to site a wind farm on the island in 2005 that refusal could jeopardise their Isle of Wight operations. The families said that it wouldn’t just be the 625 jobs – hundreds more depended on the Vestas’ factory for contracts.

While we were there the nearby burger van started displaying Climate Change Action Camp posters and stocking veggie burgers!

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