SATURDAY AUGUST 8
As a result of a court order the occupation of the Vestas plant came to a dramatic end on Friday with 2 of the workers abseiling down from the balcony and a third leaping to the ground. The rally in Newport the following day therefore constituted a vital statement that the struggle is by no means over but it has entered a new phase. As speaker after speaker at the rally emphasised, the central task now is to build for solidarity action across Britain. To this end this Wednesday August 12 has been declared a day of national action – this is intended to be the first of many to come. On the Isle of Wight itself green ribbons are being distributed so that local residents can demonstrate their support. In Portsmouth passengers embarking on and disembarking from the ferry will be asked to sign petitions and donate money to the fighting fund. Last week this activity led to hundreds of signatures and pounds being collected.
Across the country workers and campaigners are being asked to do whatever they can to show their support by holding workplace meetings, rallies, collecting money and distributing petitions. The ultimate aim must be to bring about mass unofficial stoppages of the sort that the other month led to the revocation of redundancy notices at the Lindsey oil refinery. This will put immense pressure on the government to nationalise the plant, save the jobs of the Vestas workers and make a meaningful contribution to its stated aim of investing in a green economy.
At the rally, which was attended by several hundred supporters, the workers who had been occupying the plant were introduced to rapturous applause, and a number spoke. Jonathan Neale from the Campaign against Climate Change also spoke and called for action in the schools, colleges and universities, ranging from teach-ins to occupations, when they restart in September. The rally was followed by a march to the Vestas plant to show the company that we have not gone away – they may have got back the plant for now but the struggle continues.
BUILD FOR THE DAY OF ACTION ON AUGUST 12.
Roger Welch, Portsmouth University UCU branch (in a personal capacity)