24 Jul 2009

Jerry and Jo report back from Vestas.

We have just come back from the Isle of Wight and the magnificent occupation of the Vestas workers of their plant that makes wind turbine engines and is threatened with closure next week and the loss of 600 jobs.
We took donations and messages of support from Rolls Royce UNITE Test Areas and the CWU South West Engineering branch and were made very welcome by the workers there.
The workplace is non union and has suffered years of management bullying and intimidation.
The RMT is doing a fantastic job in providing financial and human resources (people who have years of experience of workplace organisation and struggle) to help the Vestas workers with practical help and advice, e.g. setting up a stewards group with responsibilities eg finance, communication, publicity .. all the things we know are crucial in a dispute. Very impressive.
After the NHS and the Council, this is the largest employer on the island and the loss of jobs will have a devastating effect on the community.Vestas received a £3.5 million subsidy 9 years ago to build the plant and has made nearly a £1 billion profit in the last quarter so the workers have an "air tight" case!! and are receiving messages of solidarity from across the world. Their demand is for the government to nationalise the plant and match their fine words on climate change and the creation of environmental jobs with action.
There is a constant presence outside the factory, a rally in Newport tonight and all support is much appreciated. Details below.
(Mark Steele is organising a fund raiser on the island next week with Mark Thomas and Jo Brand. Will forward details when we have them)
Delegation work would be of enormous assistance to the struggle and will also strengthen the movement in Bristol. We are arranging for Vestas workers to visit Bristol next week to talk to as many people as possible. They don't want to be away for too long from the action there of course so we were thinking of visits to shop stewards, union offices and branch meetings and to pack in as much as we can over one or two days.
Please will you get back to let us know of any meetings next week so we can work out the best days for them to come and can plan a schedule.
Send messages of support from yourself or your organisation to savevestas@googlemail.com.
Send a donation from your trade-union or other organisation, or make a personal donation: cheques payable to Ryde and East Wight Trades Union Council, 22 Church Lane, Ryde, Isle of Wight, PO33 2NB
Petition energy minister Ed Miliband. His e-address is ps.ed.miliband@decc.gsi.gov.uk. His phone number in his Doncaster constituency is 01302 875 462, and at Westminster, 020 7219 4778. Flood him with calls for the Government to take over the Vestas factory and keep it producing, under new management.
Organise a visible demonstration of solidarity. Take a photo with a placard that reads “Save Vestas” and email the photo to savevestas@gmail.com

Best wishes Jerry Hicks and Jo Benefield

PS. The name and address of the new treasurer is
Dianne Walker, 15 Kingsfisher Close, Cansbrooke, PO 30 5XS, 0782 864 7258, dianne.walker@iwcollege.ac.uk

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