Westside Action

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

Archive for isle of wight

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!

Vestas Workers Besieged by Riot Cops

Taken from http://workersclimateaction.co.uk

Link to channel 4 report: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1184614595?bctid=30341056001

Wind-turbine-workers-stag-001

Workers staging a sit-in at the soon-to-close Vestas wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight are being starved out by police.

The police, many inside the factory and dressed in riot gear, have denied food to the workers who took over the factory offices last night, to protest the closure of their factory. The police, operating with highly questionable legal authority, have surrounded the offices, preventing supporters from joining the sit-in, and preventing food from being brought to the protestors.

Around 20 workers at the Vestas Plant in Newport, on the Isle of Wight, occupied the top floor of offices in their factory to protest against its closure which will result in over 500 job losses.

Acting without an injunction, on private property, the police have repeatedly tried to break into the office where the protesting workers have barricaded themselves, and have threatened the workers with arrest for aggravated trespass, despite the fact that no damage has been done to the property where the protest is taking place. Police have also forcibly removed people from private property, another action that is of very questionable legality in the absence of a formal injunction.

The office involved in the latter action was number 3606. The officer who appears to be in charge is 3115.

This heavy handed response is the latest in a long line of over-reactions to protest by various UK police forces.

vestas

The Vestas workers inside the factory released a statement earlier today:

“As workers at a wind turbine manufacturer, we were confident that as the recession took hold that green or renewable energy would be the area where many jobs could be created – not lost.

So we were horrified to find out that our jobs were moving abroad and that more than 525 jobs from the Isle of Wight and Southampton were going to be added to the already poor state of island unemployment.

This has sent, and will continue to send, shockwaves of uncertainty through countless families on the island – many of which are being forced to relocate away from the island.

We find this hard to stomach as the government are getting away with claiming they are investing heavily in these types of industry.

Only last week they said they would create 400,000 green jobs. How can the process start with 600 of us losing our jobs?

Now I’m not sure about you but we think it’s about time that if the government can spend billions bailing out the banks – and even nationalise them – then surely they can do the same at Vestas.

The people of Vestas matter, and the people of the island matter, but equally importantly the people of this planet matter. We will not be brushed under the carpet by a government which is claiming to help us.

We have occupied our factory and call on the government to step in and nationalise it. We and many others believe it is essential that we continue to keep our factory open for our families and livelihoods, but also for the future of the planet.

We call on Ed Miliband as the relevant minister to come to the island and tell us to our face why it makes sense for the government to launch a campaign to expand green energy at the same moment at the country’s only major wind turbine producer closes.

Please show your support.

Protest at Newport Vestas at 5pm today (off Dondor Lane – Monks Brook Newport, Isle Of Wight, PO30 5WZ)

Demonstrate Friday 24th of July Friday 5.30pm St. Thomas square Newport”

Contact details:

(ed) 07775763750

(martin) 07950978083

savevestas.press@googlemail.com

http://savevestas.wordpress.com

UPDATE:

Mass Walk-In Breaks the Siege

On July 22nd, 2009 Stuart says:

Taken from: savevestas.wordpress.com

At 5.10am this morning, a climate activist at the protest outside the Vestas plant attempted to take a bag of food to the occupying workers by means of a rope which the workers had lowered from the balcony. The activist was grabbed by 5 police officers and arrested. On his release he obtained the police report of his arrest, which stated that the reason for his arrest was that, as his bringing food to the occupiers had the stated intention of prolonging the protest, it was facilitating a breach of the peace – clearly ludicrous as the police have themselves admitted that the protest is not breaching the peace.

At 1248, a large number of protestors walked through the line of police holding food in their hands which they threw up to the balcony. The police pushed some of the protestors and attempted to obstruct the line but did not offer substantial resistance. One protestor was harassed by a security guard, and asked a police officer, whose number was 24266, if he intended to do anything about it; the officer said he didn’t. Another protestor saw a police officer grabbing the arm of an activist as he attempted to throw food to the balcony – the activist told the police officer that this constituted harassment, the police officer took no notice.

A second climate activist was arrested and taken through the front doors of the factory. Later, a sergeant whose number was 3027 came out and said that no-one had been arrested for carrying food, but that one activist had been arrested for assault. Other protestors present have commented that as the activist in question, who has not given permission for his name to be released, is a christian pacifist, this seems unlikely.

Security have started putting up a fence around the site, with protestors outside attempting to get a second food-carrying walk-in past the police before its completion. There are currently around 50 protestors outside the factory, over 30 of them Vestas workers, and sources say they expect numbers to increase drastically around 6pm when the protest starts.