Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 17:52 UK

Sit-in turbine staff 'face sack'

Vestas protest
Workers inside the factory say they will stay for "as long as it takes"

A protester has claimed the 30 workers at a sit-in at the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight have been told they will be sacked.

Danish company Vestas Windsystems plans to make 625 workers redundant at the end of July, despite rising profits.

One of the protesters, who occupied the Newport site on Monday, said managers gave them until 2230 BST on Tuesday to end their action or face the sack.

Two people have been arrested at the site, police said.

Vestas said consultation on the site was on-going and would not comment.

Police said a man was being held on suspicion of assaulting an officer, another for breach of peace.

The men, who are from Southampton, are aged 28 and 49.

Earlier, a 38-year-old London man was arrested on suspicion of breach of the peace on Wednesday after he tried to enter the site.

He was later released without charge.

'Denied food'

A worker inside the factory, who did not want to be named, said: "We have been told we will be sacked.

"We were given the choice to leave by 2230 BST last [Monday] night and keep our redundancy package and walk out with no charges.

We've said all along as it remains peaceful there is no reason for us to step in.
Insp Paul Savill
Hampshire Constabulary

"Obviously we have stayed in. We didn't want it to come to this.

"We want the company to explore the possibility of the government taking the site over and improving the redundancy package."

Meanwhile RMT union leader, Bob Crow, said: "I think it is absolutely scandalous what is going on and we are supporting this occupation.

"These people are being denied food, they are being denied water."

The campaigners have called on Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change secretary, to travel to the island and speak to them.

One of the protesters, named only as Luke, said: "We're prepared to stay here for as long as it takes."

About 200 workers staged a protest outside the factory on Tuesday after being turned away when they arrived for work.

They were also joined by climate change protesters who are supporting them.

Police said Vestas had started legal action to gain an injunction which would remove the protesters.

A metal fence across the Newport building's entrance
The workers entered the offices at about 1930 BST on Monday

Insp Paul Savill, from Hampshire Constabulary, said: "Overnight the protest remained peaceful.

"We would only step in if there was a rise in criminality and we have not seen that."

The company said the factory was being closed next week due to reduced demand for wind turbines in northern Europe.

Vestas said in a statement it would not comment due to the continuing consultation process.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said the plant made blades for the US market which were not the right specification for onshore or offshore wind farms in the UK.

"We are hopeful that Vestas will go ahead with their plans for a research and development facility on the Isle of Wight which could provide up to a further 300 jobs and also help develop and test products that are suitable for the UK offshore market," she said.


Workers have called on the government to save the factory

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific