Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vestas: bullying people out of their jobs

The case of 625 workers fighting for their jobs.

Today is a crucial one for the 625 Vestas workers who are at risk of losing their job. The wind turbine firm on the Isle of Wight is seeking a court order to force the occupying workers out of the factory.

Vestas has always been aggressively anti-union and, since announcing the closure at the Isle of Wight plant, they have kept a hard-nosed and arsy approach towards the whole thing. The Vestas factory is the only unit in England manufacturing wind turbines. The Danish company which owns it are trying to close the factory down with the loss of 625 jobs blaming the British government’s lack of commitment to renewable energy.

The company is reported to have made profits of $56 million in the first quarter of this year alone – a rise of 70% on last year. They also received £6million in government grants. The factory has been under workers occupation since Tuesday. Communication lines into the factory have been cut and deliveries of food and water have been blockaded by private security guards. Eleven of those involved in the occupation have received summary dismissal letters.

The irony is that, only twelve days ago, Secretary of State for Climate Change Ed Miliband re-stated the government's alleged commitment to renewable energy. In the words of RMT general secretary Bob Crow, “there’s a simple solution to this dispute. The government should nationalise the factory, protect the jobs and show that they are walking the talk when it come to green and renewable energy.”

“This dispute brings together two crucial issues – the right to protection from companies who abuse the law to hire and fire and the right to live in a world where the environment and sustainability are absolute priorities.

“We are demanding an urgent intervention from Ed Milliband today. The government stand accused of sheer hypocrisy over their public announcements on climate change while our only wind turbine factory faces the axe. If the government can nationalise the banks at the drop of a hat there is no reason whatsoever why they can’t nationalise Vestas.”

More about Vestas workers fighting for their jobs here and here.


Helen Highwater said...

Speaking as someone who lived on the Isle of Wight for 3 years, the loss of over 600 industrial jobs will have a terrible impact on the island. Most of the jobs on the island are seasonal tourism jobs or old people's care home jobs. So there's a lot at stake, and Vesta's casual shrugging off, which will cause problems for a community which is already disadvantaged, is disgusting.

The island isn't all posh yachties (they tend to be the "DFT's" - Down From Towns - who turn up at the weekend). At one point, the Isle of Wight was the most impoverished county in Britain.

What doesn't help is the reliance on ferries and ships to get to the mainland - despite many people saying that a bridge to the mainland would create jobs, all the poshies put their feet down, because they don't want "their" idyllic island spoiled. But how idyllic is it to live in a damp Victorian bedsit on the dole?

Don't expect Isle of Wight council to do anything - they're a useless bunch of spongers who appear in Private Eye's "Rotten Boroughs" more often than any other council.

Nick W said...

Agree with Helen Highwater.
600 jobs in such a small community is a serious blow to take.
For the government to just stand like that looking helpless a fortnight after pompously announcing 'green investments' and 'renewable sources' is pathetic.

socialistsam said...

Didn't hear any thatcherite scum moaning when Vistas pocketed the government grant 2 years ago and thanks very much. Where were the free-marketeers then?