Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Saturday, 11 July 2009 16:47 UK

Rally to save 625 wind farm jobs

Vestas rally in Newport
The Vestas factory in Newport is set to shut at the end of July

A rally has been held on the Isle of Wight in a last ditch attempt to save hundreds of jobs set to be cut at a wind turbine company.

Danish company Vestas Windsystems announced in April it would close its turbine plant on the island, cutting 600 jobs, despite rising profits.

It said it would close its factory in Newport due to reduced demand for wind turbines in northern Europe.

On Saturday campaigners met in St James' Square in the town.

They gathered support and collected signatures for a petition against the planned closure.

July closure

The factory is set to shut at the end of July with the loss of 525 jobs at the blade manufacturing and research plant at Newport and a further 100 in Southampton.

Jon Woods, chair of UNISON's Portsmouth branch which organised the rally, said: "The aim is to save the Vestas factory and to save over 600 jobs here on the island and in Southampton.

"It's absolutely criminal for the only manufacturer of wind turbines in the country to consider closing in the middle of an economic recession when unemployment is rising and jobs are going everywhere.

"If people are laid off here on the island they're really going to struggle to find any alternative work.

"It is also criminal - given we're facing major climate change catastrophe - to actually have the only wind turbine factory close.

"The government should be intervening now."

The news of the job cuts came as the organisation, which is the world's largest manufacturer of wind turbines, reported a quarterly sales rise of 59% to 1.11bn euros.

Vestas is one of the largest employers of skilled labour on the island.



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