Page last updated at 15:02 GMT, Saturday, 8 August 2009 16:02 UK

Sit-in turbine workers hold rally

Vestas protest
Vestas has blamed the closure on a drop in demand

Workers who staged a 19-day sit-in protest inside an office at a wind turbine blade factory on the Isle of Wight have taken part in a rally.

They left when bailiffs entered Vestas in Newport on Friday after the firm was granted a possession order.

Up to 12 workers had occupied the office since 20 July in protest at plans to axe 625 jobs, which the firm said was due to a fall in demand.

Saturday's rally went from Newport's St Thomas Square to the factory gates.

The workers were supported by trade union representatives and environmentalists, who have rallied behind them throughout the protest.

Jumped from balcony

Up to 12 people had taken part in the sit-in but several workers left during the week.

On Friday, bailiffs forced their way inside the first-floor office to remove the remaining six workers.

One worker leapt from a balcony and two others abseiled from a wall.

Crowds of supporters lined the site cheering on the men before they were spoken to by police.

They had raised a sign from a balcony outside which said "Vestas, this is only the start, you will lose."

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

The Department of Energy and Climate Change said it would not comment on private meetings, but added that discussions had been held with Vestas over the closure.

The company has said that subsidies were not the issue and the factory was closing because of a lack of orders.



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