12 August 2009
Shutting Vestas hinders the future of the wind sector
Vestas’ decision to relocate its plant from the Isle of Wight (UK) shows that short-term financial considerations are still guiding business decisions. Crucially, this is happening in a sector which is meant to be providing new employment opportunities in Europe – the renewable energy sector. It is clear to Europe’s workers that lessons about short-termism of the economic crisis are not making their way through to management. And rhetoric on the promotion of low-carbon industries is not being met with action from public policymakers and politicians.
Stressing the industrial policy implications, Peter Scherrer (General Secretary of the European Metalworkers’ Federation) recalled that “Wind energy is amongst the fastest growing investment sectors in Europe, and this is set to continue. Therefore, it is absurd to be shutting a factory producing the very equipment needed for this sector in Europe, increasing the need for future imports.”
This example raises a major concern for European metalworkers’ about the strength of forward-looking industrial policies in the context of the greening of our industries. If innovative, ‘green’ companies are allowed to close production sites on the basis of short-termism, and are simultaneously asking for EU and national taxpayers’ money to open new plants, how far will we be able to move to reduce the carbon-footprint of EU’s manufacturing industries, whilst guaranteeing the future industrial backbone of Europe?
Therefore, the European Metalworkers’ Federation is in full solidarity with the Vestas workers currently fighting for their jobs and future commitments from the company. The EMF is in favour of a responsible, forward-thinking and sustainable industry, offering quality jobs in Europe’s metal sectors. Decisions such as Vestas’ on the Isle of Wight have no place in such a future.
Vestas, a Danish-based specialist in wind-power appliances announced the closure of its production plant on Isle of Wight earlier this year, thus shedding 600 jobs. In defence of their employment, the workers occupied their factory, and only abandoned it once their employer requested police forces to evacuate the site on August 6th.
For further information please contact:
Peter Scherrer, EMF General Secretary
Wolf Jäcklein, EMF Adviser, phone: +32.2.2271057
European Metalworkers’ Federation, EMF
Fédération Européenne des Métallurgistes, FEM
Europäischer Metallgewerkschaftsbund, EMB
International Trade Union House (ITUH)
Boulevard du Roi Albert II, 5 (bte 10)
Cellular: +32 475 258 288