WDIE Masthead

Year 2009 No. 58, August 24, 2009 ARCHIVE HOME JBBOOKS SUBSCRIBE

Marking the Determination of the Vestas Workers

Workers' Daily Internet Edition: Article Index :

Marking the Determination of the Vestas Workers

Only the Working Class Can Save the Day on the Isle of Wight

Support Messages
Brazilian trade union to Vestas workers
International Transport Workers’ Federation support for combative Vestas workers
National day of solidarity is international – Australian students support
In the inbox on the national day of solidarity, August 12 – messages of support
Solidarity from the European Metalworkers Federation
Striking Chilean miners send support

Daily On Line Newspaper of the
Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist)

Web Site: http://www.rcpbml.org.uk
e-mail: office@rcpbml.org.uk
Subscription Rates (Cheques made payable to RCPB(ML))
170, Wandsworth Road, London, SW8 2LA.
Phone: 020 7627 0599:
Workers' Weekly Printed Edition:
4 issues - £3.15, 6 months - £19.95 for 26 issues, Yearly - £36.95 (including postage)

Workers' Daily Internet Edition Freely available online
Workers' Daily Email Edition Subscribe by e-mail daily:Free / Donate
Subscribe to WDIE Lead Article RSS Feed (free) {Valid RSS}

Marking the Determination of the Vestas Workers

About 150 Vestas workers and supporters marched through Ryde, Isle of Wight, on August 15. It was a spirited march with lots of support from shopkeepers and bystanders.

On August 14, Vestas had paid outstanding wages and redundancy money into the bank accounts of workers made redundant. The redundancy date was originally set for July 31, but then as a result of the occupation was put back to August 12.

The demonstration marked the determination of the Vestas workers to continue the struggle in the present circumstances, and was part of a plan to take the campaign to all parts of the Isle of Wight. Most protest had until recently been concentrated in Newport, the county town of the island and the site of the main Vestas wind turbine blade factory.

Before the march began there was a militant series of speeches from the Vestas workers who had taken part in the occupation, eco-activists and trade unionists. A song has been written by “Seize the Day” about the occupation called The Boys on the Balcony. It has a catchy refrain and citizens enjoyed singing it and especially coming in on the chorus.

The demonstration and the speeches reflected both that the struggle has been the deed of the Vestas workers themselves, who have kept the initiative in their own hands, and also that the participation of wide sections of activists and trade unionists who have been inspired by and taken up this struggle as their own has made a vital and valuable contribution. The experience has been invaluable, and the workers see the importance of participating in summing up its lessons and charting the way forward. The struggle has struck a chord not only nationally but internationally, and the Vestas workers have emerged with their heads held high.

The next national day of action in support of the Vestas workers is scheduled to take place on September 9. WDIE calls on everyone to join in!

{short description of image} Western Gardens
Asembling Seize the Day
Assembling Rally

Article Index

Only the Working Class Can Save the Day on the Isle of Wight


With Vestas closing, the crisis on the Isle of Wight has been exacerbated. Hundreds of jobs at Vestas and related suppliers and indeed the local economy are all affected. The issue on the island is how it can be led out of this crisis. Only a workers’ movement, organised and conscious, can solve this serious problem, only the working class can save the day on the island.

Vestas workers are a contingent of the working class as a whole. The capitalists want to deny this, separate them and marginalise the workers who have disrupted their peace. The big monopolies are the cause of the crisis in the first place. They are the ones that take more out of the island economy than they put in. They are the ones who up sticks and move out. Leaders of the council have kept their heads down during the Vestas occupation because it has brought to the fore the role that big business plays. Now they say that they are supporters and wear green ribbons but their intention to solve the crisis on the island is the same. They are like a long-playing record that is stuck. They harp on about attracting business onto the island to solve the crisis but nothing happens, businesses are only interested in profit and not sustainable investment. They simply suck the economy and clear off. What is needed is more put into the island economy than is taken out. This means investment in social programmes and not handouts to the rich. This is the experience of Vestas.

The capitalists have shown their vindictive side and their class hatred. They used their courts to evict workers stating that it is because they are the owners of private property obtained off the backs of working people. It is mainly workers as taxpayers who gave handouts to Vestas with funds from SEEDA, the EU regional agency, which has obtained cash through workers’ taxes throughout Britain and Europe. The employers have still not agreed to redundancy compensation. Their punitive measures against those that have stood up to be counted can only be viewed as arbitrary and vindictive. There are those capitalists with petty interests who want to disrupt the solidarity of the rest of the working class and isolate the workers here by bad mouthing supporters. This has been repudiated.

The working class on the island need a workers’ movement that is conscious and organised. It requires the Vestas workers by their side to develop this process. Workers are becoming more aware of their role. They are not making it a point of departure whether anyone is socialist, communist or green. Socialists and environmentalists put forward their views to solve the crisis. Yet the working class are becoming aware of their special position as the arbiters of change. Only the working class can save the day and develop a programme to lead the people out of the crisis.

New mechanisms and principles of organising need to be discussed by the workers today. On the island, the organisations like Trades Councils work as part of the workers’ movement along with trades unionists to fight for specific demands:

• To ensure more is put into the island economy than is taken out

• To invest in renewable technology

• To end low pay

• To end unemployment

These demands have emerged to prominence because of the actions of Vestas workers and the current situation in particular and will continue to develop.

The workers movement needs the full weight of the working class organisation, including their unions, to be behind them. Workers know, and the example of Lindsey oil workers struggles shows this, that it is the union that makes us strong!

Why is it necessary for the entire working class to be involved? It is totally and completely necessary because it is the only force capable of changing the direction of society, changing the direction of the economy and constituting itself as the nation. There is no other force that is capable, through its power of numbers and direct involvement in production that has the discipline, strength and sustainability to effect that change. It is the only class that can vest sovereignty in the people.

Organise and build an island-wide workers’ movement!
Unity with the entire working class!
The union makes us strong!


Article Index

Support Messages

International and National Support:

Brazilian trade union to Vestas workers: “Together with European workers in the fight against unemployment. Only the fight can change our life”


Dear comrades,

We feel very proud to send to you this letter to pay our solidarity to your fight and a sit-in protest to save your jobs, and against the closure of the factory.

My name is Herbert Claros, I am vice-president of Metal Workers Trade Union of Sao José dos Campos, in Sao Paulo State. I am writing to you in name of all Union members. I am worker of EMBRAER – Brazilian Aviation Company. EMBRAER was a government company and was privatised in 1994. Since then, the majority of its shares of stock have been negotiated in New York Stock Exchange and EMBRAER is no more a Brazilian company. Last February, the company axed 4,270 workers, arguing it was because of world economic crisis. It is not true, the company is still making a lot of profit and the workers that remain working are being more exploited, all to the shareholders to increase their profits. We have launched a campaign for EMBRAER nationalisation and for the company to be in state control again.

Our struggle is the same and we are with you in your struggle to the nationalisation of the factory and against its closure!!! Your occupation is important to all workers in the world, showing the way to fight. Workers did not make the economic crisis and we are not paying for it!!!!

Your fight is important to maintain the jobs in the Wight Isle and also very important to fight for a clean energy in defence of our planet and for a better quality of life.

We will be together with European workers in the fight against unemployment. Only the fight can change our life!!!!

Herbert Claros Metal Worker Trade Union of Sao Jose dos Campos / Conlutas – Brazil

Sindicato dos Metalurgicos de São José dos Campos e Região
Coordenação Nacional de Lutas

International Transport Workers’ Federation support for combative Vestas workers

From the staff at the International Transport Workers’ Federation in solidarity with Vestas workers.

National day of solidarity is international – Australian students support

Greetings from Wollongong, Australia.

We have attached some images from a speakout the Environment Collective of the University of Wollongong held last night. We are currently running enviro week, and we have used our events to talk to students about the struggle of the Vestas workers and its importance in winning a safe climate. The occupation may be over, but the fight is just beginning! You have our support.

In the inbox on the national day of solidarity, August 12 – messages of support

Guys St Thomas’ branch committee have asked me to write to you, we offer solidarity and support in your struggle to keep your jobs, and to keep the wind turbine factory open. We realise that your fight for your jobs is also a fight to prevent further climate change, we hope you are successful, and are donating £200 to your fund.
- Anita Downs, branch secretary, Guys St Thomas’ UNISON branch

To all at Save Vestas. I can’t be there to support you but keep up the pressure. You never know what might result and we desperately need these jobs on the Island. Good luck,
- Barney, Catalyst Internet Consultancy, Freshwater

Sorry to hear about your plight on the island.
The Dockyard closed in Chatham in 1984 (Where we are sited) causing major job losses from which the area has never recovered.  We now have 3rd generation unemployed in the Medway Towns.
It takes years to recover from situations like yours and I sincerely hope something will be done about it – if not by the government then by some far seeing entrepreneur.
Thinking of you
- Debs

Solidarity from the UNITE reps at Fujitsu Manchester.  Photo attached from our reps’ meeting today.
- Ian Allinson, senior rep, UNITE Fujitsu Manchester

Solidarity from the European Metalworkers Federation: shutting Vestas hinders the future of the wind sector

12 August 2009
Press Information:

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.

PRESS 29/2009

For further information please contact:
Peter Scherrer, EMF General Secretary
Wolf Jäcklein, EMF Adviser, phone: +32.2.2271057

Wolf Jäcklein
Policy Adviser
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)
B-1210 Brussels
Phone: +
Cellular: +32 475 258 288
Fax: +

Striking Chilean miners send support

Report via the Climate Change Trade Union Network

From Tambillo miners to Vestas

Couple of our comrades visited the Tambillo miners strike in northern Chile and told them about Vestas. The miners’ children sent this picture over in solidarity. You can find out more by googling Tambillo miners.

Article Index

RCPB(ML) Home Page

Workers' Daily Internet Edition Index Page