The occupying workers have told the BBC that management yesterday gave them a deadline of 22:30 to walk out of the factory and keep their redundancy pay, otherwise they would be sacked.
The workers ignored the threat. “Obviously we stayed in” said one. He added: “We didn’t want it to come to this.”
The occupying workers have now committed themselves – if they are forced to back down now, they will lose everything. And the police are (unlawfully) increasing pressure – despite the claim of Inspector Paul Savill that “we would only step in if there was a rise in criminality, and we have not seen that,” and despite having no injunction to act on the private property of the Vestas site, police have occupied the lower floor of the building, preventing other workers from entering the occupation. Some in riot gear have attempted to enter the occupied upper storey. Most importantly, they have forcibly prevented protestors from delivering food to the workers inside, attempting literally to starve the occupiers out, and facilitating the disgraceful and demeaning offer from Vestas management to the occupiers that they would be given food if they came out of the building.
It is now vital that the occupiers receive concrete support from organisations and individuals. There has been a picket line 200-strong outside the factory, which has been described as ‘crucial’ to the morale of the occupying workers.
If you would like to join the picket, or the environmental camp reported to have been set up near the gates, or the community campaign being set up on the island to support occupiers and their families, details on travel to the Isle of Wight are at the bottom of this update.
If you cannot make it to the Isle of Wight yourself, convince other people who can – support at the factory itself is vital to the morale of the workers who in occupying the factory still have the power to force the government to step in.
Come to the Isle of Wight TODAY to join the community campaign:
We have set up a campaign for Vestas workers’ families and Isle of Wight residents to show their support for keeping jobs at Vestas. The families and communities campaign will be very important in keeping spirits up through this stressful time. For more details call 07775 763750.
PUBLIC DEMONSTRATION on Friday
Come to St Thomas Square in Newport at 5:30pm on Friday 24th July where we will be making a very public display of how we feel about the Vestas closures!
If you cannot make it to the Isle yourself there are also things you can do from home to support the workers:
– Send messages of support to email@example.com – this lets the workers in the factory know that they have the support of people around the country and, hopefully, around the world.
– Donate to the Vestas Fighting Fund:
Cheques Payable to ‘Ryde and East Wight Trades Union’
Send Cheques to:
22 Church Lane
Isle of Wight
(suggest writing in with the cheque that you wish it to go to the Vestas Fighting Fund)
– Bombard Ed Miliband: let the government know the public will not let them wriggle out of their commitment to green energy when they have an opportunity to bail out a green energy company the way they did the Oyal Bank of Scotland.
Doncaster constituency office tel. 01302 875 462
Westminster office tel. 020 7219 4778
– Ring up the police to complain about the infringement of civil liberties in the handling of the Vestas occupation, the officer involved is number 3606, and the officer in charge appears to be number 3115.
– Sign the Save Vestas petition on 10 Downing Street website
GETTING TO THE ISLE OF WIGHT – PRACTICAL INFO:
If you want to go to the Isle of Wight and join the campaign there, as many activists from around the country have already done:
National Express coaches go London to Southampton every hour, with funfares from £5 booking online.
Megabus coaches go London to Southampton at 08:39, 10:39, 12:39. 14:39, 16:00 and 21:39, with prices from £6 (the 16:00 ones tend to be the cheapest).
Both arrive at the National Express station on Harbour Parade in Southampton, about ten minutes walk from the Isle of Wight ferry terminal (the Red Funnel terminal). To get to the terminal:
1. Head south on Harbour Parade
Go through 1 roundabout
2. Turn left at A3057/W Quay Rd
Continue to follow A3057
Go through 1 roundabout
3. Turn right at Bugle Street
Destination will be on the left
Red Funnel ferries cost £7 at the desk, and from £4 booking in advance online. When you arrive on the Island, take the chain ferry from East Cowes to Cowes, then the No. 1 bus to Newport from the stop on Newport Rd. To join up with one of the existing support networks on the island contact Ed Maltby on 07775 763 750.
For more information about the campaign on the Island and what you can do, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
NOTE: It would be helpful if other networks on the island could comment on here giving contact details – it’s easier for people to get involved with an existing effort than just to go over by themselves not knowing what they can offer.