Westside Action

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

Archive for recession

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.

Dukes, Squatters, Travellers and Mortgages

Three very different and apparently unrelated housing stories appeared in yesterday’s (22nd Jan) news. The biggest, and most worrying for most people who are feeling vulnerable to the effects of the recession, is the fact that house repossessions are up by 92 per cent in the last year, according to figures from the Financial Services Authority.

repo1

(above)Baliff- Scum Evict Man

The promise of home-ownership for the majority of people, including a large proportion of the working class has been the ruling classes’ most successful ‘divide and rule’ tactic to date. The fact that, for those people who are not all that comfortably off, home-ownership in reality means mortgages which are a struggle to keep up with in the ‘good times’, and impossible to do so in the bad, seems to be irrelevant to the psychology of those who now consider themselves ‘property owners’, but are in fact, in the main, only owners of large debts.

Squatting of course, for many of those struggling to keep up with their mortgage repayments seems unfair: Why should these “freeloaders” get something for nothing ?

Another of today’s housing stories was that a couple of The Duke of Westminster’s properties have been squatted. Of course, the fact that they have been empty for 20 years or so, and the injustice that property distribution is so uneven that one person can own most of the West End of London, will not be included in the undoubtedly splenetic editorials which will accompany the story.

But how did the Duke come to own all this prime real estate, and his resulting £7 billion fortune?

Duke - Trustafarian and heir to padeophile fortune

Duke - Trustafarian and heir to padeophile fortune

Well, the story starts in 1066 when a grateful William the Conqueror grants estates (which now comprise much of the Present Dukes’ estate) in London to Geoffrey de Mandeville, for services rendered. Between then and the late 17th Century it passed through many hands, until Sir Thomas Grosvenor, an ancestor of the current Duke married the heiress Mary Davies in 1677. As London grew it was developed into the fashionable areas of Mayfair and Belgravia. So in a phrase, the current Duke did sweet fuck all  to obtain his property and his fortune. Which must  make him (to use a  favourite “Daily Mail” phrase) the king of all “freeloaders”, not to mention the daddy of all trustafarians.  In fact, you could say that his fortune is based on pedophilia since Mary Davies was only 12 years old when Sir Thomas married her!

Those who have tried to avoid the property trap, generally come in for the most stick, like squatters and even more so – Gypsies and Travellers. Their transitory way of life forms the basis of hundreds of years of unreasoned hatred.

While Roma are currently persecuted in Italy, it is Irish  Travellers  who are often the vocal point of this ceaseless prejudice in the UK.  None more so than the groups of Travellers who live at Dale Farm, Basildon, Essex. Irish Travellers (and Gypsies) traditionally lived outside the property trap, either squatting land, or using land provided by law from Local Authorities.
However, in 1994, through the Criminal Justice Act (the same act that outlawed raves, for those too young to remember) combined with new local authoriy legislation removed the ‘legal’ sites and turned those on squatted site into criminals who could be moved on constantly without need for those pesky courts. Travellers were told they should now buy their own land instead and assurances were made that they would be allowed to settle it, despite suggestions that Travellers find it difficult to secure planning permission approval.

So, this is what they did. However, as most Travellers expected, local authorities were reluctant to give planning permission. The most openly unjust previous decision of this kind was at Woodside Caravan Park, Bedfordshire which not only owned by the people evicted but was previously a Caravan Park. Therefore the refusal of planning permission can only been seen as racist one, as the Commisson for Racial Equality suggested.

Similarly, in Essex today the prohibition not to build on “Green Belt” land has been used against the Dale Farm Travellers. Whilst it is not in dispute that the land is within the  greenbelt, the reality is that the previous use of the site was not a pristine water meadow, but a huge scrap yard, containing hundreds of car bodies. Nobody, it seems, complained during the forty years this was in operation, despite the heavy lorries and noise. Now today’s  High Court Decision, which reverses a previous court decision, means that Basildon Council can evict the families of Dale Farm without having to provide any alternative places for them to go, to applause of many of the locals, not to mention the rabid local Tory MP.

So the Duke and his ilk can sit pretty, comfortable in the knowledge that any resentment and anger resulting from the struggle to keep up with mortgage repayments, will not be be directed at them but on those even further down the ladder of this property-based and obsessed society.