Vestas: "The strength of standing together"

Vestas

Author: 

Ian Terry

Ian Terry, one of the workers who occupied the factory from 20 July to 7 August, spoke to Solidarity on 9 September.

We're stopping the blades from going out from the St Cross factory because we believe they're our blades, from our factory, and we would like to see them put up in our country.

I think it's difficult to stop them getting out, but people are motivated to do it. We're getting more and more people each day willing to help us, as local people walk past the picket [which is on the cycle path from Newport to Cowes] and talk to us about it.

I also want to see an overall fight for jobs on the island, and for building a strong trade union movement here.

We want Vestas to be forced to give up the St Cross site to another employer if they want to get their new site for R&D. We've got a meeting today with the South East England Development Agency, and we're in contact with green manufacturers across the country. We want to get the council and the Government to br$ing new jobs to the island.

After experiencing the solidarity that we got, we realised the strength of being able to stand together. So we now think it's important to support all workers' struggles, especially as workers in dispute often don't have a lot of people on their side. We've gone along to support the local post workers' and bus drivers' picket lines in the last couple of weeks.

For the day of action on 17 September, we want to see lots of creative ideas. We have a few ideas of our own in the pipeline, but we want to see more. We hope people will do flyering and banner drops. A green teaching pack has been put together for schools, so that teachers can show solidarity by teaching a green topic for the day, or even for one lesson.

RMT, the union Vestas workers joined after starting the occupation, are trying to build a trade union movement of fighting unions rather than of those union leaders that are in the Government's pocket. They are also trying to do all they can to get reinstatement for the eleven of us who were sacked by Vestas and so lost our redundancy money.

I spoke to the Executive of the Fire Brigades Union on Tuesday [8 September]. There was a lot of interest in the 17th there, and they asked what they could do to help promote our cause at the TUC congress starting 14 September.