Page last updated at 19:33 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 20:33 UK

Sit-in continues on closing day

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

A group of workers are continuing a sit-in at a wind turbine blade factory on the Isle of Wight on the day of its planned closure.

The protesters say 25 of them have been inside the Vestas factory in Newport but only 11 workers, who the firm has identified, have been sacked.

The sit-in began on 20 July after the firm announced plans to axe 625 jobs.

The factory was due to close on Friday but the company said it has been delayed until Monday, 10 August.

On Wednesday, the Danish firm's bid to have the workers removed failed when a judge ruled removal papers had not been served in accordance with legal rules.

The case at Newport County Court was adjourned until next Tuesday.

Peter Kruse, spokesman for Vestas, told the BBC: "Initially we planned to have the financial consultation with all our employees, unfortunately due to this sit-in things have been postponed and we are doing our very best to speed it up so people can get on with their lives.

It's not just about the money, it's never been about money
Steve Stotesbury, employee

"We can only hope that the people on the inside will also realise that this has implications for people outside."

Employee Steve Stotesbury, who is leading the protest outside, said that the sit-in was "never about money".

He said: "It is good news that the company is being forced to keep us on because that inevitably means there will be people who will see a little bit more money in their paypacket.

"But it's not just about the money, it's never been about money. It has been about the economy, it has been about our island and us forcing the company into rethinking their strategies."

After nine days, one of the protesters, Luke Paxton, walked out to be reunited with his family.

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

Worker inside sit-in
The workers have spent nights inside the factory

"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."

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.

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

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


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