Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 18:17 UK

Turbine 'sit-in' workers sacked

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

Eleven workers taking part in a sit-in protest over job cuts at a wind turbine blade factory on the Isle of Wight have been dismissed.

Vestas Windsystems said it had sacked 11 employees who it had identified as being inside the office.

The protest began on 20 July in response to the firm's plans to make 625 staff redundant at the end of July.

Vestas is shutting the Newport site because it says the UK wind turbine market is not big enough.

Mike, one of the workers, told the BBC that dismissal letters - telling them they had lost their jobs and their redundancy packages - were delivered with their evening meal, a slice of pizza.

He said: "We're obviously disappointed but we kind of expected this.

"It's not going to deter us and we're not going to leave.

Worker inside sit-in
The workers have spent more than a week inside the factory

"We're not doing this for us now, we're doing this for everybody else."

Vestas said: "Since the occupation began on Monday 20 July, Vestas has made several attempts to encourage the employees participating in the occupation to discontinue their participation.

"Vestas has also explained to the employees concerned the potential consequences of their actions if they were to refuse to discontinue their participation.

"Today, Vestas therefore, unfortunately, saw no other choice than to dismiss the 11 employees, who the company has positively identified as the employees currently participating in the occupation of the factory."

On Wednesday, the company will make an application at Newport County Court for a possession order to remove the protestors from the factory.

Protesters said about 25 workers were occupying the office of the Danish company's factory.

Climate rally

Meanwhile, campaigners were holding a rally outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change in central London on Tuesday evening.

The Save Vestas Rally has been organised by the Campaign against Climate Change (CACC) and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).

They were calling on the government to spend more on green energy.

On Monday, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband spent more than an hour talking to Vestas protesters when he visited Oxford.

The visit coincided with the government announcing a £6m grant for Vestas' research centre, which will be based at Newport.

Mr Miliband told the BBC he was "very sorry for the people who may be losing their jobs in the Isle of Wight".

He went on to say the "£6m to help Vestas build a research and development facility into offshore wind should employ around 150 people".



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