News from Martin at the plant this morning:
Bosses at the Vestas wind turbine blade factories in the Isle of Wight have sent out letters to workers saying that the compulsory redundancies there are delayed indefinitely.
The redundancies were originally set to take effect, and final “clean-up” operations in the factories to start, from 31 July.
During the workers’ occupation of the St Cross factory, Vestas sent out letters saying that the process was delayed and they now “hoped” to complete it “in the week beginning Monday 10 August”.
Vestas have now completed the required third individual interview about redundancy with all the workers involved, but – so we understand – instead of sending out a circular with a definite redundancy date, they have sent out new letters adjourning the redundancy date.
Meanwhile the workers – apart from the eleven sacked for their part in the factory occupation – are being paid but not required to turn up for work.
Whatever happens next, the occupation has won at least a little for all Vestas workers, by gaining them at least three weeks’ extra pay, and, some of them, extra redundancy pay by making their service longer.
The calculations behind the further adjournment are not clear. But it has to represent some degree of further backing off by the bosses, especially when compared with their obvious alternative of quickly finalising the redundancies and the “clean-up”.
This news makes it all the more important to argue for the reinstatement of the 11 workers who occupied the plant. It is their sacrifice above all that is gaining a little more money for those still employed by Vestas. I was in the delegation that spoke to Joan Ruddock on Friday at her constituency office. I would say that the only time she was quite hostile about answering any question was on this point, what should happen to the sacked workers who had drawn our attention to the issue of the Vestas closure? She just said that she was talking to her opposite numbers in the Department of Work and Pensions about it. Does she simply mean that she will ask that the men get full benefits when they claim? This isn’t good enough for us, one of our key demands is:
– no victimisation of those who occupied
– reinstatement/full redundancy for those who occupied.