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Workers Climate Action
CONTACT Sophie Lewis: firstname.lastname@example.org; 07989 873 549.
Ed Miliband’s offices blockaded in Vestas solidarity action
Ed Miliband’s London offices were blockaded this morning by a coalition of “red, green and black” activists in a demonstration of solidarity for the factory workers who have been occupying the Vestas wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight since the 20th July.
The occupation in Newport is protesting against the Vestas management’s decision to shut down the factory, cutting 600 jobs and representing a severe blow to the local community and to a green economy. The workers are currently entering their fifteenth day of occupation, calling for nationalisation and workers’ control of the factory.
The activists in Whitehall, holding placards saying “take back the wind power” and wearing red, green and black as a symbol of their diverse political viewpoints, glued themselves in a chain across the entrance of the Department for Energy and Climate Change, demanding that the factory be kept open.
The action marks the development of a new alliance between socialist and autonomist environmental campaigners which has been cemented by the Vestas solidarity campaign. (run by WCA: savevestas.wordpress.com and workersclimateaction.wordpress.com)
Sophie Lewis, co-coordinator of the support network, said: “this is not the first time the world has seen an alliance between politically distinct groups under the banner of fighting climate activism. But Save Vestas is a narrative so potent that thousands nationally and internationally are rallying around it. Miliband must show real leadership on this one.”
This action comes a day before the Vestas management attempts to obtain an injunction to evict the workers.
Molly Grayson, one of the activists glued on, said:
“Closing down the UK’s only wind turbine factory is an act of madness at a time like this. Climate change has to be tackled and in a recession green jobs should be the last to go. This is an issue which is so pressing that ordinary people of all political leanings are prepared to get arrested for it. I’m here today to show up Ed Miliband’s hypocrisy in promising a green revolution but falling flat at the first hurdle.”
Notes to Editors:
1. Vestas wind turbine factory is the only factory producing wind turbine blades in the UK.
2. Workers have been occupying the Vestas factory on the Isle of Wight since July 20th. Eleven of the workers inside were sacked on Tuesday. There has been a solidarity camp outside of the occupied factory made up of an alliance of trade unionists, environmental activists and members of the local community.
3. Yesterday (Wednesday) the factory owners attempted to bring an injunction against the occupying workers. The hearing was postponed until 4th August because the management cut corners with the paperwork.
4. After the cancellation of the Big Green Gathering, hundreds of activists are planning to go down to the Isle of Wight to show support for the factory workers. The event has been coined “Vestival” and activists from groups such as Climate Camp, Climate Rush, Plane Stupid and others will be going down.
5. The Vestas campaign has inspired people from a broad range of political and activist groups such as Climate Camp, the Socialist Worker’s Party and Campaign against Climate Change. Workers Climate Action is a red-green-black coalition which fights for solutions to climate change alongside fighting for rights for workers.
6. The past few years have seen an increase in the number of protests about the failure of governments and big business to take action on climate change. This has included thousands of people taking arrestable direct action in order to drive home the urgency of climate change.
7. Climate change campaigners have attacked the government’s and corporations’ “greenwash” including the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s announcement of a £6 million grant to Vestas which will not save the Vestas factory jobs.
8. The UK’s claims to be a world leader in the fight against climate change in the run up to the Climate Summit talks in Copenhagen this year are weakened by the cutting of the few green jobs the UK has, and the government’s go-ahead for four new coal-fired power stations and new runways including the third runway at Heathrow.
UPDATE: The seven activists glued across Ed Miliband’s office entrance were told by police they wouldn’t be arrested. Having been unglued, they were then… arrested.