VESTAS WORKERS BESIEGED BY RIOT POLICE (Updated Press Release)
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.
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”
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
525 redundancies in the UK were announced by Vestas at the start of April.
Two factories (that make wind turbines) on the Isle of Wight (in Newport and Cowes) are due to close at the end of this month.
Vestas (a Danish company) profits grew 70% in 2008, revenue went up 58% while shipping volumes went up 28%.
There are currently 20-30 workers occupying the offices of the factory in Newport. There are about 50 workers forming a picket line outside.
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