Posted by: Alex | 22 July 2009

Summary of Day One (from inside the occupation)

7am – After 3 hours sleep on a shift pattern we wrote a press release

8:30am – Vestas managers told the workers outside the factory that no on would be able to be paid because we held the payroll office under control. Workers quickly saw through this as everyone knows payroll is sorted on the 15th of every month. After a while managers decided that the payroll could be sorted out remotely.

9am – The next tactic was a rumour that a private security firm would storm the building with CS gas and be heavy handed. This turned out to be a security firm specialising in siege breaking hired by the management.

10am – The workers and the crowd spontaneously rushed the police line with three bodies getting inside which boosted morale inside and outside.

12noon Then the internet access inside was shut off.

12:30 – Riot police were spotted outside the doors occupying workers had secured and were testing the doors and intimidating us by also rattling shields. Then Vestas managers and security wedged the doors shut from the outside using chocks.

1:30pm -After a few bags of food had made it through to us it was then stopped from getting through to us, although they claim they didn’t want to act, Vestas pressured the police to not let food in. The food that did make it in was donated by fellow workers and the public and has been stolen by Vestas management.

3pm – A landmark was reached when Vestas management and police agreed to meet with workers to begin negotiations.

Demands for nationalisation of the plant or higher redundancy pay were made. Workers also called for a meeting between themselves and Ed Milliband to discuss the future of the plant and the possibility of nationalisation. Discussion were also had about the appalling level of redundancy pay offered compared to previous settlements at the same site and abroad in the light of record profits for Vestas in the first quarter of 2009. Workers also argued that any negotiations should be followed by a mass meeting of all Vestas workers to discuss the results and that no worker should be victimised for supporting the occupation.

4:15 Police and management arrived again and informed the occupying workers that anyone who left in the following two hours would not be charged, they did not wish to storm on us as they had what they described as ’other options’. Occupying workers tried to serve a legal notice for squatter rights but were told it was null and void. Police also said that charges of aggravated trespass would be brought against those who did not leave during the two hour amnesty period.

6pm – Occupying workers still standing firm with support from workers and supporters outside of the factory

10:00pm Police officer arrived claiming that Vestas had lost patience and wanted to check that no criminal damage had occurred in the occupation. As a goodwill gesture the policeman was allowed to enter, he agreed that no criminal damage had occurred. As a result workers were then informed that if they did not leave the building in one hour they would all face prosecution for aggravated trespass, so much for goodwill! The police could also storm the occupied area and remove workers and that also the siege breaking Security firm hired by Vestas had applied for an injunction and would use force to come in and remove workers. Workers were given 5 minutes to respond. Workers stood firm against this continued attempt at intimidation. The only response to negotiations made so far by Vestas management was to provide minutes of a meeting held some time ago with some of the points in the document highlighted. They were not moving.

11:00pm The chocks wedging the doors shut were heard to be tested and hammered loudly again.

11:30pm The factory manager left.

During all negotiations and throughout the day, requests for food were made but the only answers given were that we could leave to get it and that the managements aim was to make occupying workers as uncomfortable as they possibly could which it seems, includes starving them out along with continued intimidation from police who were unlawfully preventing food from being brought through by workers and supporters outside


Responses

  1. Good luck to you comrades! It is heartening to see what you are doing,an you need to know that you have a lot of support up and down the country. The way the police are behaving is totally out of order, though unfortunately not surprising…….other recent protests such as G20, etc go to show just how close we are to becoming a police state.

    My trade union branch will be making a contribution to your fighting fund very soon.

    KEEP IT UP!!!!!!!

    Jon, London

  2. The word is spreading and you are not alone in your decision to take a stand.

    stay firm!!


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