Socialist Worker

Where now for the Vestas campaign?

Published Tue 22 Sep 2009
Issue No. 2170

The Labour government has completely betrayed the sacked Vestas wind turbine workers.

In his speech to the TUC Congress last week, climate change minister Ed Miliband blankly refused to do anything to help them.

After being heckled and challenged by the Vestas workers in the hall, he said, “I am sorry for the workers involved because it was a tragedy for them [but] I don’t think the government should be in the business of running wind turbine businesses.”

He tried to cover up his shame by announcing he was to hand £4 million to another wind power firm to build wind turbines in the north east of England—but that will create only 50 jobs.

Congress delegates—who gave the Vestas workers a standing ovation—clearly disagreed with Miliband.

But trade union leaders, with the exception of the RMT, have so far refused to back the Vestas workers’ fight.

The campaign has already put intense pressure on the government and inspired thousands of people fighting back against the system.

We need to keep up the national campaign for justice for the Vestas workers, and to create green jobs.

Day of action builds support

Vestas campaigners held protests, public meetings, rallies and mass leafleting across Britain as part of the national day of action on Thursday of last week.

The action spread to Birmingham, Brighton, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Rotherham, Southampton, Warrington, and—of course—the Isle of Wight where the Vestas workers are based.

“Teachers across Britain taught assemblies and lessons on renewable energy and climate change,” Jess Edwards, a teacher and NUT member in Lambeth, south London, told the rally outside the government’s energy department.

Vestas worker Mark Flower said, “When we occupied we got a lot of support from everyone on the Isle of Wight. Vestas is the biggest private employer on the island and there aren’t many other jobs there for people.

“Gordon Brown has said he’s going to create green jobs but we know it’s a lie—he isn’t doing it.

“Opinion polls show that most people back the nationalisation of Vestas.”


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News
Tue 22 Sep 2009, 18:28 BST
Issue No. 2170
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