Tuesday, July 21, 2009

save vestas

The government proudly announces its low-carbon roadmap and talks of a Green New Deal. Yet it's happy to bail out high-carbon dinosaur companies like Land Rover whilst standing by as the UK's only wind turbine factory goes bust.

Production at the Vestas factory on the Isle of Wight is due to stop on 31st July. But active resistance has been growing, and now workers have occupied the factory.

Only last week they said they would create 400,000 green jobs. How can the process start with 600 of us losing our jobs?

Now I’m not sure about you but we think it’s about time that if the government can spend billions bailing out the banks – and even nationalise them – then surely they can do the same at Vestas.

The people of Vestas matter, and the people of the island matter, but equally importantly the people of this planet matter. We will not be brushed under the carpet by a government which is claiming to help us.

We have occupied our factory and call on the government to step in and nationalise it. We and many others believe it is essential that we continue to keep our factory open for our families and livelihoods, but also for the future of the planet.

If you can get to the Isle of Wight

They'll be happy to see you at the gates, and there are also several demonstrations planned on the island. The factory is off Dondor Lane, Monks Brook Newport, Isle Of Wight, PO30 5WZ (Google map)

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

Demonstration: St Thomas Square in Newport at 5:30pm on Friday 24th July

If you can get to London

There is a demonstration planned for tomorrow, Wednesday 22nd, called by Campaign Against Climate Change.

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

It's possible that more will follow next week (keep up to date on the Save Vestas site).

If you can't physically be at either place

You can still help pile on the pressure and save the factory. The Vestas workers call on us to

Bombard the energy minister Ed Miliband with phone calls and emails. Tell the government that this closure cannot go ahead!

Ed Miliband’s e-address is ps.ed.miliband@decc.gsi.gov.uk
His phone number in his Doncaster constituency is 01302 875 462
and at Westminster, 020 7219 4778.

Flood him with calls for the Government to take over the Vestas factory and keep it producing, under new management.

Friends of the Earth have an easy auto-email thingy to petition Lord Mandelson

Messages of support can be sent to the workers at savevestas@gmail.com

There have been so many chances for action against the causes of climate change, here's a chance to fight for a solution.

There are only days to go, and we can still win if we act fast. Do it right now.


Anonymous said...

Miliband is MP for Doncaster, and is probably the most important Minister on the case, so why no demo in Doncaster. I know its a bit out of the way, but Saturday is still a few days away.

merrick said...

Yeah, I'm sure a Donny demo would get word to him, and if he were in town it'd have a big punch.

But I presume it's only been London because it's an appeal to him in his capacity as a minister rather than as a constituency MP, and also everything's always in London isn't it.

also, this campaign's sprung up very quickly, there's not been a lot of time to plan much. But if you're near Donny, call the demo yourself, I'm sure the Save Vestas site would prominently advertise it.

merrick said...

Ed Miliband's response:

= = = = = = =

Thank you for your email about the Vestas factory on the Isle of Wight.

I am very sorry for the people who are losing their jobs. When I met the Vestas management a few months ago, to see how we could help, and when I have spoken to them since then, I have wanted to do all I can to try to find a solution that could help the workforce.

Vestas have repeatedly told us that offers of government subsidy were not the issue for them. The factory makes a different sized blade to the ones used in Britain, so each one it makes is shipped to the US. They wanted to have their production in America to cut some of that journey.

As part of global reductions in their workforce, they are not at the current time converting the Isle of Wight site to make turbines for the British market.

Their biggest difficulty is with planning objections to onshore wind turbines, which have slowed down the growth in the UK market. That is why we are reforming the planning rules and are arguing strongly that people need to see climate change as a bigger threat to the countryside than the wind turbine.

Vestas are keeping a prototype facility at the factory on the Isle of Wight and we are currently considering an application from them for support of an offshore blade testing and development facility, which will employ 150 people initially, and is expected to grow in the future.

Government policy is having a positive effect. Next year alone, the renewable electricity industry will get £1 billion of support because of government action, and the amount of power from onshore wind grew by a third last year, and the amount of offshore wind power grew by 67% - so Britain now has more offshore wind power than any other country in the world.

It is to enhance the prospects for green jobs that we have made available 120 million pounds for offshore wind manufacture in the UK and 60 million pounds for marine development. Last week I visited a factory in Wales that employs 800 people and exports solar panels across Europe. The week before I saw a factory that is producing buses that produce fewer emissions, helping climate change and local air quality. Research suggest there could be half a million jobs in renewable energy by 2020.

I believe that to be ready to pursue these opportunities, we must invest in the skills, research, and the infrastructure to help clean energy companies grow – and we are making those investments.

There is government action for different industries and areas of the country, which you can read about at www.hmg.gov.uk/lowcarbon.

In the end, making sure the transition happens as quickly as possible will need government action, it will need dynamic companies, and it will also need us to win arguments around the country that renewable power should have a bigger role in the country’s future.

Thank you again for writing to me.

Ed Miliband