Three activists have expertly clambered on top of the Cowes Vestas factory, otherwise known as the landmark Union Jack building, to greet all incomers to the Isle of Wight with a gigantic banner reading:
“VESTAS WORKERS’ SOLIDARITY
IN OCCUPATION ___ Fight for green Jobs”
Here’s the Guardian coverage from Matthew Weaver at 09.23 BST:
Environmental activists staged a protest at a second wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight today as part of a campaign to save hundreds of jobs in the green energy sector.
They occupied the roof of the Vestas factory in Cowes and vowed to stay there until workers sacked for their continuing sit-in at a plant in nearby Newport were reinstated.
A group of 11 workers who have occupied the Newport plant for the last two weeks face another court hearing today as Danish-owned Vestas Wind Systems attempts to end their occupation. They said this morning their morale had been boosted by the sit-in at Cowes.
Ian Perry, one of the 11, said: “It’s good to know that others are willing to stand up and fight for green jobs.”
The Cowes factory was occupied at 4am by a Climate Camp group and members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, which has been calling for urgent talks with the government in an effort to save the Newport factory.
They unveiled a banner on the roof that read: “Vestas Workers – Solidarity in Occupation. Save Green Jobs.” The occupation has been timed to coincide with the Cowes sailing festival.
One of the group said: “We are staying here until everyone is reinstated and the closure decision is reversed.”
Vestas is going to court for a second time to seek repossession of the Newport factory and end the sit-in. The workers will be represented in court by RMT. A camp has been set up outside the factory as environmentalists join trade union activists in trying to save the plant.
Yesterday a group of climate change activists were arrested after supergluing themselves together outside the headquarters of the Department of Energy and Climate Change in London in support of the sit-in workers. The protesters, who held up banners saying “Take back the wind power,” blockaded the main entrance to the building for several hours before they were detained.
The Trades Union Congress general secretary, Brendan Barber, urged Vestas to rethink its closure decision. He said: “Ed Miliband [the climate change secretary] has proved himself to be a champion of the green agenda and the drive to create new jobs. Now we are asking him to go the extra mile for the 600 workers and the production facility – the only one of its size in Britain – which is vital to building our low-carbon future. Everything must be done to look for positive alternatives.”