Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Save Vestas!

The only wind turbine factory in the UK, Vestas, on the Isle of Wight, is due to close at the end of this month with the loss of 600 jobs. At a time when we need to be massively increasing our renewables capacity in this country and investing in wind power, this is absurd.

The company is closing the factory despite rising profits and has taken a threatening and aggressive line towards workers protesting to save their jobs. It seems bizarre that the factory was creating blades for US wind turbines rather than the European market - a great example of globalisation gone awry. The government says the blades aren't the right specification for here. So modify things for goodness sake - don't lose the local expertise that's been built on now.

The government coughed up the dosh (ie our money) to prop up the car industry and the banks; now it's time for them to invest just a fraction of that in saving this factory, the jobs of the 600 workers, and with it our hopes of developing a viable low-carbon energy supply to replace our coal-fired power stations . To do otherwise yet claim to be green would be rank hypocrisy. Time for Ed Milliband and Joan Ruddock at the Department for Energy and Climate Change to stand up to the unelected Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, one Peter Mandelson, and demand he shows a bit of bloody innovation in saving these jobs.

Gordon Brown has talked a lot recently about creating green jobs, but he seems somewhat short on action. He also seems to include decidedly brown sectors such as nuclear power and coal-fired power stations within his definition of green. The Green Party's policies in contrast would create a million new jobs in genuinely green industries.

There was a demonstration in outside the DECC offices in London tonight, which Darren spoke at - I didn't go, but sent a message of support to the campaign via

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MEP, in whose constituency the factory is located, has also sent a message of support to workers and spoken out against the proposed closure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It could get subsidies.