Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Thursday, 30 July 2009 17:54 UK

Worker walks out of wind sit-in


Mr Paxton said he had to leave for "personal reasons"

A worker has walked out of a sit-in at a wind turbine blade factory on the Isle of Wight after nine days, to be reunited with his family.

Luke Paxton was among about 25 people who locked themselves inside the Vestas factory in Newport on 20 July after the firm announced plans to axe 625 jobs.

He walked out on Wednesday and was checked by paramedics for malnutrition.

The sit-in is continuing with Vestas failing in a legal bid to have the protestors removed on Wednesday.

A judge at Newport County Court ruled that removal papers had not been served in accordance with legal rules and adjourned the case until Tuesday.

'Annilate us'

Mr Paxton, who left for personal reasons, told BBC News: "It was a struggle, everything was a challenge from eating to washing.

"We were hoping we wouldn't be in there for so long, but when you're running in there so many things are going through your mind.

"I've never done anything like this in my life and there was that part of me that thought they are a big company and they are going to annihilate us in court.

They deserve to win this important battle for green jobs
Billy Bragg

"But to hear that news yesterday was absolutely fantastic and boosted everyone's morale."

The protestors have been receiving about two meals a day from Vestas but Mr Paxton was checked for low blood sugar levels when he left.

"I was looking very pale and was advised to go to hospital but I just wanted to get home and have a proper meal.

"We got one slice of pizza and a bit of fruit the other night for dinner which is not a meal."

A number of supporters broke through security lines on Thursday to throw food to the workers inside.

They were eventually ejected but there were no arrests.

Lack of demand

Eleven employees involved in the sit-in have been sacked by the company.

Meanwhile the singer Bill Bragg has added his support to the campaign.

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

He said: "They are a fantastic example to us all and they deserve to win this important battle for green jobs.

"I will be promoting their campaign from the stage on my American dates."

Vestas has blamed its decision to close the factory on a lack of demand for wind turbines in the UK market, despite the firm's profits rising.

The factory was scheduled to close this Friday.

The workers are not union members but trade unionists have joined the campaign to keep the factory open, as have environmentalists.

The Campaign against Climate Change and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) organised a rally outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change in central London on Tuesday evening.

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