21 Jul 2009

Jerry Hicks statement in support of Vestas

Vestas Occupation, all power to their elbow.

On Monday 20th July workers began occupying part of the Vestas wind turbine plant at Newport on the Isle of Wight in protest against threatened closure at the end of the month. 600 jobs would be lost.

Vestas is the world's biggest wind energy group and recently reported a quarterly sales rise of 59%, up to €1.1bn (£0.95bn). They’re coining it in. They obviously think they can play around with jobs all over the world and don’t have to be held to account for ruining workers’ livelihoods.

The workers want Gordon Brown to step in as if it was a troubled bank and save the jobs and the production of wind turbine blades. He gave the bankers trillions.

Jerry Hicks said " Politicians generate enough hot air to power a thousand wind farms. Now it’s time to put words into action. The government say they care about climate change and talk about creating 40,000 ‘green jobs’. The first step should be protecting these 600 by taking the factory into public ownership."

There is a large picket of support starting outside the factory. This will be crucial in giving confidence to the people inside. The Vestas workers will no doubt have been inspired by the victory of the Lindsey oil refinery strikes which set a fine example in protecting conditions and creating jobs and by the occupations at the Visteon plants in Basildon, Belfast and Enfield which all succeeded in winning better severance payments.

The entire labour and trade union movement should offer the Vestas workers total solidarity. Groups such as the Campaign Against Climate Change are also on the case. They are calling a demonstration on Wednesday 22nd July at 6pm outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change offices in central London. There is a support meeting in the Methodist Hall, Newport on the Isle of Wight 6.30 to 8.30 on the same evening.

"Save jobs and save the planet!" is the Vestas workers’ rallying cry. And quite right too. The government is forever going on about encouraging wind and wave power and curbing our carbon emissions. Well, that’s what these people do for a living and now they’re facing unemployment.

Support the occupation!

Jerry Hicks can be contacted on 078 178 279 12

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