We spoke to former Vestas workers, two of the 11 sacked factory occupiers, Arbo (Dave Arbuthnott) and Justin Moody on Sunday 4 October.
Arbo: we have tidied up the roundabout camp, it now includes a marquee where we have an exhibition showing the history of the campaign so far, leaflets of the supporting groups, etc. We are promised a book with printouts of the support messages sent with donations. It’s quite pleasant down here. We invite people to drop by for tea or evening meal.
Yesterday we went to Parkhurst Forest and collected 10 kilos of chestnuts and a load of windfall wood for the fire. But the funds situation is not so good – all donations will be gratefully received!
The sacked workers had a meeting with RMT on the Monday after TUC conference to fill in the forms for our claims of unfair dismissal by Vestas. The next moves for the campaign include a meeting at the Methodist Church Hall in Newport, to discuss with other Island trade unions our plan for a green jobs fair on the Island.
Caroline Lucas, the Island’s Green MEP, is due to visit the roundabout on Friday, and to discuss the jobs fair idea as we want it to be at a time when she can come and speak.
We are trying to get included in the meeting that the Island’s MP Andrew Turner, council leader David Pugh, and Labour councillor Geoff Lumley are due to have soon with Ed Miliband. If they are going to be talking about creating green jobs on the Island we feel we should be there.
Justin: Morale is high while we keep the fire burning! We had some bad press in the Isle of Wight County Press before Vestas got the blades out but we understood what that was all about, and they have been around the camp doing more friendly reports and taking nice pictures since then!
I do think we should go to the meeting with Ed Miliband. I understood he told Ian Terry at TUC conference that he would be prepared to meet with us.
The next steps for us are to get all the groups and unions together and promote green jobs on the Island – we really want this to be a true Eco Island.
Vestas have not moved anything big into the factory since they took the blades away. But their only blade testing rig is inside, so we know they will need to use that at some point.
The security guards are costing them a fortune, £45 an hour all the time we are here. They were fools not to come to a settlement with us, but with them it is all about saving face, it was from the time we occupied. Especially with [plant manager] Paddy Weir, he has a large ego and likes to control his own little world.