Vestas factory officially closed
by David Masters
August 18, 2009
Vestas’s wind turbine blade factory on the Isle of White has been officially closed down with the loss of 425 jobs.
The factory was occupied for 19 days by Vestas employees until they were peacefully evicted by bailiffs last week.
The site was the only significantly large producer of wind turbines in the UK.
Protests have been held across the UK in support of Vestas employees and to demand that the government steps in to save their jobs.
Members of Climate Rush chained themselves to the home of Business Secretary Peter Mandelson in an “act of solidarity”, while the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union issued statements and organised rallies to support the workers’ occupation.
Danish-owned Vestas said it was forced to close the factory because of weak demand for wind turbines in Northern Europe.
“This commercial decision was absolutely necessary to secure Vestas’ competiveness and create a regional balance between production and the demand for wind turbines,” said Ole Borup Jakobsen, Vestas Blades president.
“We understand and have sympathy that employees are deeply affected by the closure.
“Throughout the consultation period, minimising the impact on employees and providing all the support we can in this situation has been our first and foremost priority.”
Staff at the factory have been offered redundancy payments “more than double those that are required by statute”, Jakobsen said.
Forty employees have found new roles with Vestas on the Isle of Wight, while a further 57 will stay on to help close the factory down.
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