About 150 Vestas workers and supporters marched through Ryde, Isle of Wight, on 15 August.
The demonstration was part of a plan to take the campaign to all parts of the Isle of Wight. Most protest has until recently been concentrated in Newport, the county town of the island and the site of the main Vestas wind turbine blade factory.
Next Saturday, 22nd, there will be a demonstration in Sandown.
A Vestas workers’ Ryde support group, made up of local people, is now being established: for more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chairing the rally at the start of the demonstration, Mike Godley, one of the workers who occupied the Newport factory from 20 July until evicted on 7 August, read out web postings which attacked the campaign for the Government to nationalise the wind-turbine blade factory and save the jobs as something created or manipulated by socialist and other activists who have come to the Isle of Wight from the mainland.
To great applause, he refuted the attacks, saying that the socialists and environmental activists who have come to the island, many camping on a roundabout outside the factory, have mde a valuable and welcome contribution to a struggle which continues to be the Vestas workers’ own.
On Friday 14 August, Vestas paid outstanding wages and redundancy money into the bank accounts of workers made redundant. The redundancy date was originally set for 31 July, then, as a result of the occupation, put back to 12 August.
Many workers remain determined to fight on. On our best information, Vestas bosses plan to start sending “clean-up” teams into the Newport and East Cowes factories on 17 August. Can they do that without protest?
Even if they can get the “clean-up” teams, can they get out the yet-to-be-finished blades and the equipment which they want to remove from the factories? They cannot come out by road, but have to go onto barges (in Newport, over a public cycle path) at high tide.
The workers’ pickets at the factory gates must and will continue.
Meanwhile, the ripples of solidarity with the Vestas workers spread even further. New support groups are being set up even now. The next national day of action on 9 September, held at a time when labour movement is reviving after the summer holidays, can be bigger than the one on 12 August.