Vestas factory on Isle of Wight OCCUPIED!

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posi
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Jul 20 2009 21:34
Vestas factory on Isle of Wight OCCUPIED!

Background here: http://thecommune.wordpress.com/2009/07/14/vestas-the-struggle-on-the-horizon/

We hear that the factory (one of the sites, I guess) has been occupied in the last couple of hours... I'm sure people will be needed down there to bulk out the occupiers.

Socialist Worker article here has more contact numbers: http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=106820973547&h=vE8Xp&u=Y0bHA&ref=nf

YEAAH!

posi
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Jul 20 2009 21:46

campaign blog: http://savevestas.wordpress.com/

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Steven.
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Jul 20 2009 23:41

I was just about to post this myself

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Le bandit vert
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Jul 21 2009 11:30

Workers at the Southampton Factory have also been turned away from work today. I hear the guys at Southampton still have production planned up until the 27th. If these guys started protesting then that would put a "spanner in the works"

posi
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Jul 21 2009 11:43

Does anyone live near Warrington? http://www.vestas.com/en/about-vestas/find-vestas.aspx

They have a site there which does sales and servicing (there are apparently bits of wind turbine lying around outside). It is on an industrial estate, so might be difficult to leaflet, but it would be good if someone could have a go. I was going to be there later this week, but looks like I won't be there until next week now, so if anyone could have a punt.

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Le bandit vert
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Jul 21 2009 12:02

What about the Birth in Southampton port that they own?

posi
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Jul 21 2009 13:54

Apparently it's basically a warehouse full of blades, and local SP and SWP members have been in touch with workers there. This was more than a week ago. Don't know more than that.

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Le bandit vert
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Jul 21 2009 16:34

Ive heard through a reliable source that there will be a similar protest going on at the Southampton site tommorow (22.07.2009)

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flaneur
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Jul 21 2009 20:49

The blog says riot police have tried to storm the top floor of the office where the workers are.

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Choccy
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Jul 21 2009 23:09

Guardian coverage plus audio interview

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AES
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Jul 22 2009 09:01
Quote:
*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”

Contact details:
(ed) 07775763750
(martin) 07950978083
savevestas.press@googlemail.com
http://savevestas.wordpress.com

*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.

For more information, and updates, visit
http://savevestas.wordpress.com

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Entdinglichung
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Jul 22 2009 11:33

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6723035.ece

Protester arrested for trying to deliver food to Vestas sit-in

A protester was arrested this morning as he tried to deliver food to workers occupying Britain’s only substantial wind turbine factory.

....

In the early hours, a supporter from Kent was arrested when he rushed on to the factory premises and tried to attach food to a rope lowered by the protesters from a balcony.

“A guy ran across with a big bag of food to tie to the rope but three police officers just jumped him, handcuffed him, and took the food away,” Mr Smith said.

Ben Leamy, 38, was held for several hours on but released without charge.

His custody sheet, seen by The Times, accused him of being “armed with supplies of food”.

The arresting officer wrote: “Believed that the DP [detained person] was going to supply the food. In doing so, fear that that the protest would be prolonged and therefore possibility of breach of the peace. Arrested to prevent same.”

Mr Leamy said: “I made it all the way to the rope with a huge bag of sausage rolls, scotch eggs and fruit and in another three seconds it would have been on its way up. Then they just piled on and grabbed me.”

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Jul 22 2009 13:17

A mass walk-in from supporting protestors outside the plant has made it past the police to get food to the occupying workers, although they did not get any more people in. More to follow soon.

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Choccy
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Jul 22 2009 14:30

sweet, keep the updates coming, we'll include coverage of this in the next Leveller

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Le bandit vert
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Jul 22 2009 17:31

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

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Le bandit vert
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Jul 22 2009 17:31

The fence has now been completed around the plant, increasing the difficulty of getting supplies to the occupiers. Protestors attempted to get more food through before the fence was complete, but were rebuffed by the police.

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Jul 22 2009 17:33

Women protesters have defied the police blockade at the occupied Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight. The protesters managed to throw up food to the workers, who the police were attempting to starve out.

In response the authorities are building a fence around the factory to deny people access to the factory. There are now also private security guards outside the plant.

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flaneur
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Jul 22 2009 19:38

Did anyone here make it to the demo at Whitehall today? How many folk were there?

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Le bandit vert
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Jul 23 2009 09:07

just spoken to one of the protesters on the inside, Mike, said that sandwiches have been provided by the company this morning and that combined with the rally last night has “raised morale 110%.

Read more: http://ventnorblog.com/vestas-provide-food-to-sit-in-protestors-surprise/#ixzz0M4eSSpSO

BB
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Jul 23 2009 10:45

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8162154.stm

There was footage on the telly last night, not sure if it was meridian or south today of food being thrown up to them, i can't find it atm.

Wellclose Square
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Jul 23 2009 21:24

Sympathetic report on South Today tonight. Featured a 'soon-to-be-sacked' worker and partner (cue, quite rightly, theme of 'uncertain future' in report) visiting the occupation to show support. Also featured film taken by the occupiers of arrest of violent psychopath attempting to deliver food - three-to-one, face down, wrists cuffed virtually behind shoulder-blades - well, he might've come at them with a banana... Court case against occupiers scheduled for next Wednesday. Police predictably plead 'impartiality' - 'Vestas haven't been paying us' (rough quote from memory).

Rowner Eddie
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Jul 23 2009 21:56

If anyone is coming along for the protest tomorrow (this friday), Portsmouth Anarchists should be there if you want to say hello.

posi
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Jul 24 2009 08:18

Ed Miliband responds to the Vestas closure: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2009/jul/23/ed-miliband-vestas-wind-power

RMT press release

Quote:
...RMT and other trade unionists today managed to get some supplies of food and drink into the occupation. RMT have been working on contingency plans to drop food in by helicopter if necessary to ensure that the Vestas workers are not starved into submission and have called upon the wider trade union movement to ensure that supplies are maintained. ...
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Joseph Kay
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Jul 24 2009 09:25

fuck, we were talking about getting a remote controlled helicopter for blockade breaking last night, and now they've gone and trumped us sad

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Django
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Jul 24 2009 10:02

Theres a solidarity demo at the Warrington offices tomorrow, some of the Manchester lot should be there.

Caiman del Barrio
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Jul 24 2009 10:41

Someone I know in the green energy sector reliably informs me that wind industry heads have completely ostracised Vestas over this. Scant consolation I know...

Also, how about a tunnel?

BB
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Jul 24 2009 12:20
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Someone I know in the green energy sector reliably informs me that wind industry heads have completely ostracised Vestas over this. Scant consolation I know...

Sounds like a crock to me, condemning while working out (taking pointers for PR) contingency plans themselves!

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Rats
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Jul 26 2009 03:16

stab vegies onto arrows and shoot them to the occupiers with longbows...
Are the cops there watching 24/7? Surely at night it'd be possible to sneak food in somehow.

Wellclose Square
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Jul 26 2009 12:15

Gabs wrote:

Quote:
stab vegies onto arrows and shoot them to the occupiers with longbows...

For a few seconds I thought that was a mischievous anti-vegetarian comment eek but you obviously meant spuds and sprouts, etc. I think the health and safety aspects of that idea are slightly alarming, unless it was arrows with suckers strong enough to hold apples, cabbages and the like (plungers?)...but I suspect this one's a bit of a non-runner.

Also:

Quote:
Are the cops there watching 24/7?

If not the cops, then security I'd think.

Caiman del Barrio
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Jul 26 2009 21:19

Got a message on Facebook on Friday about a planned action against the security perimeter...anyone got updates?

Beltov
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Jul 28 2009 20:32

News tonight that 11 of the occupiers have been sacked and won't be able to get redundancy payments.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/8171774.stm

Seems like the bosses are upping the ante...