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Vestas threatens striking workers with the sack 22.07.09

The occupying workers have told the BBC that management yesterday gave them a deadline of 22:30 to walk out of the factory and keep their redundancy pay, otherwise they would be sacked. The workers ignored the threat “Obviously we stayed in” said one worker. He added, “We didn’t want it to come to this”.


The occupying workers have now committed themselves – if they are forced to back down now, they will lose everything. And the police are (unlawfully) increasing pressure – despite the claim of Inspector Paul Savill that “we would only step in if there was a rise in criminality, and we have not seen that,” and despite having no injunction to act on the private property of the Vestas site, police have occupied the lower floor of the building, preventing other workers from entering the occupation. Some in riot gear have attempted to enter the occupied upper storey. Most importantly, they have forcibly prevented protestors from delivering food to the workers inside, attempting literally to starve the occupiers out, and facilitating the disgraceful and demeaning offer from Vestas management to the occupiers that they would be given food if they came out of the building.

It is now vital that the occupiers receive concrete support from organisations and ihttp://savevestas.wordpress.com/wp-.... There has been a picket line 200-strong outside the factory, which has been described as ‘crucial’ to the morale of the occupying workers.

If you would like to join the picket, or the environmental camp reported to have been set up near the gates, or the community campaign being set up on the island to support occupiers and their families, details on travel to the Isle of Wight are at the bottom of this update.

If you cannot make it to the Isle of Wight yourself, try to convince other people who can – support at the factory itself is vital to the moral of the workers who in occupying the factory still have the power to force the government to step in.

Come to the Isle of Wight TODAY to join the community campaign:

MEETING Wednesday 22nd July, 6.30-8.30pm at the Methodist Church Hall, Quay Street, Newport

We are setting up a campaign for Vestas workers’ families and Isle of Wight residents to show their support for keeping jobs at Vestas. The families and communities campaign will be very important in keeping spirits up through this stressful time. For more details call 07775 763750.

PUBLIC DEMONSTRATION on Friday

Come to St Thomas Square in Newport at 5:30pm on Friday 24th July where we will be making a very public display of how we feel about the Vestas closures!

If you cannot make it to the Isle yourself there are also things you can do from home to support the workers:

- Send messages of support to savevestas@googlemail.com – this lets the workers in the factory know that they have the support of people around the country and, hopefully, around the world.

- Donate to the Vestas Fighting Fund:

Cheques Payable to ‘Ryde and East Wight Trades Union’

Send Cheques to:

22 Church Lane
Ryde
Isle of Wight
PO33 2NB

(suggest writing in with the cheque that you wish it to go to the Vestas Fighting Fund)

- Bombard Ed Miliband: let the government know the public will not let them wriggle out of their commitment to green energy when they have an opportunity to bail out a green energy company the way they did the Oyal Bank of Scotland.

Doncaster constituency office tel. 01302 875 462

Westminster office tel. 020 7219 4778.

Email: ps.ed.miliband@decc.gsi.gov.uk

- DEMONSTRATE in London (protest called by Campaign Against Climate Change)

Wednesday 22nd July , 6.00 pm, outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change, No 3 Whitehall Place
(off Whitehall, Charing Cross tube).

- Ring up the police to complain about the infringement of civil liberties in the handling of the Vestas occupation, the office involved is number 3606, and the officer in charge appears to be number 3115.

GETTING TO THE ISLE OF WIGHT – PRACTICAL INFO:

If you want to go to the Isle of Wight and join the campaign there, as many activists from around the country have already done:

National express coaches go London to Southampton every hour, with funfares from £5 booking online.
Megabus coaches go London to Southampton at 0839, 1039, 1239. 1439, 1600 and 2139, with prices from £6 (the 1600 ones tend to be the cheapest).

Both arrive at the National Express station on Harbour Parade in Southampton, about ten minutes walk from the Isle of Wight ferry terminal (the Red Funnel terminal). To get to the terminal:

1. Head south on Harbour Parade
Go through 1 roundabout

2. Turn left at A3057/W Quay Rd
Continue to follow A3057
Go through 1 roundabout

3. Turn right at Bugle St
Destination will be on the left

Red funnel ferries cost £7 at the desk, and from £4 booking in advance online. When you arrive on the Island, take the chain ferry from East Cowes to Cowes, then the No. 1 bus to Newport from the stop on Newport Rd. To join up with one of the existing support networks on the island contact Ed Maltby on 07775 763 750.

For more information about the campaign on the Island and what you can do, email edward.maltby@googlemail.com or pat.rolfe64@googlemail.com

Source:
http://savevestas.wordpress.com/

Peter Shield

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  • Summary of Day One (from inside the occupation)

    22 July 2009 16:35, by Peter Shield

    7am – After 3 hours sleep on a shift pattern we wrote a press release

    8:30am – Vestas managers told the workers outside the factory that no on would be able to be paid because we held the payroll office under control. Workers quickly saw through this as everyone knows payroll is sorted on the 15th of every month. After a while managers decided that the payroll could be sorted out remotely.

    9am – The next tactic was a rumour that a private security firm would storm the building with CS gas and be heavy handed. This turned out to be a security firm specialising in siege breaking hired by the management.

    10am – The workers and the crowd spontaneously rushed the police line with three bodies getting inside which boosted morale inside and outside.

    12noon Then the internet access inside was shut off.

    12:30 – Riot police were spotted outside the doors occupying workers had secured and were testing the doors and intimidating us by also rattling shields. Then Vestas managers and security wedged the doors shut from the outside using chocks.

    1:30pm -After a few bags of food had made it through to us it was then stopped from getting through to us, although they claim they didn’t want to act, Vestas pressured the police to not let food in. The food that did make it in was donated by fellow workers and the public and has been stolen by Vestas management.

    3pm – A landmark was reached when Vestas management and police agreed to meet with workers to begin negotiations.

    Demands for nationalisation of the plant or higher redundancy pay were made. Workers also called for a meeting between themselves and Ed Milliband to discuss the future of the plant and the possibility of nationalisation. Discussion were also had about the appalling level of redundancy pay offered compared to previous settlements at the same site and abroad in the light of record profits for Vestas in the first quarter of 2009. Workers also argued that any negotiations should be followed by a mass meeting of all Vestas workers to discuss the results and that no worker should be victimised for supporting the occupation.

    4:15 Police and management arrived again and informed the occupying workers that anyone who left in the following two hours would not be charged, they did not wish to storm on us as they had what they described as ’other options’. Occupying workers tried to serve a legal notice for squatter rights but were told it was null and void. Police also said that charges of aggravated trespass would be brought against those who did not leave during the two hour amnesty period.

    6pm – Occupying workers still standing firm with support from workers and supporters outside of the factory

    10:00pm Police officer arrived claiming that Vestas had lost patience and wanted to check that no criminal damage had occurred in the occupation. As a goodwill gesture the policeman was allowed to enter, he agreed that no criminal damage had occurred. As a result workers were then informed that if they did not leave the building in one hour they would all face prosecution for aggravated trespass, so much for goodwill! The police could also storm the occupied area and remove workers and that also the siege breaking Security firm hired by Vestas had applied for an injunction and would use force to come in and remove workers. Workers were given 5 minutes to respond. Workers stood firm against this continued attempt at intimidation. The only response to negotiations made so far by Vestas management was to provide minutes of a meeting held some time ago with some of the points in the document highlighted. They were not moving.

    11:00pm The chocks wedging the doors shut were heard to be tested and hammered loudly again.

    11:30pm The factory manager left.

    During all negotiations and throughout the day, requests for food were made but the only answers given were that we could leave to get it and that the managements aim was to make occupying workers as uncomfortable as they possibly could which it seems, includes starving them out along with continued intimidation from police who were unlawfully preventing food from being brought through by workers and supporters outside

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