NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION FOR VESTAS – DATE OF THE DAY OF ACTION HAS CHANGED

DATE OF THE DAY OF ACTION HAS CHANGED TO THURSDAY 17 SEPTEMBER

The Vestas wind turbine workers in the RMT union have called a national Day of Action. This short document from the Campaign against Climate Trade Union group will explain what has happened, what you can do, and why you should act.

This is a fight for jobs, for the island community, and for the planet. We want that will make the government act.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED

Vestas is the largest wind turbine manufacturing company in the world. In May they announced redundancies for 625 workers in their two factories on the Isle of Wight and one in Southampton. Vestas was the only wind turbine blade manufacturer in the UK. In July 20 workers occupied a factory on the Isle of Wight to save their jobs, with the support of the great majority of their fellow workers. They managed to hold the occupation for 18 days, and are now determined to fight on. Hundreds of Vestas workers have joined the RMT union, which is prepared to back them all the way.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Some things are an obvious part of a day of action, but we want you to do the obvious and then some. This is a fight for jobs and the planet. We want action that will force the government to step in.

Here are some suggestions of what you can do. In many workplaces less will be possible. That’s fine. And many groups of workers will also have other new ideas.

Leafleting, lunchtime rallies and after work rallies are a first step. We can cover towns in posters and banners.

We also suggest direct action – banner drops, swift sit-ins, roof occupations, chaining people to the railings and the like. We hope that will be happening all over the country on September 17.

We also want action by groups of workers. This will have an enormous public impact. But it will not be an easy thing to do. So we have to look for actions that go beyond the bounds of routine, but that groups of workers can imagine themselves doing. Here are some suggestions:

In secondary schools, teachers in their local union groups can approach the head and organise a day when all lessons are about climate change, green jobs and Vestas. Teachers can approach this from the point of view of their subject. The Campaign against Climate Change will produce a teacher’s pack.

We can do the same in further education colleges.

In hospitals, staff could come out to the front of the building in their uniforms with placards calling on people to support the Vestas workers, green jobs and the planet. This would make a big impact.

In the fire service, local union groups of the FBU could hang big banners out the front of the station, doing for planet safety what they already do for fire safety.

Civil servants in some offices have suggested that everyone turn off the computers and the phones at the same time for fifteen minutes. If management complain, they will say they are all taking their break at the same time. Maybe other workplaces could do this for fifteen minutes, or longer.

Other forms of action will make sense in other workplaces and industries. The key is something people think is real, but is not too scary.

If it is possible anywhere, in any workplace in the country, no matter how small, we want short strikes or short occupations by groups of workers.

We also suggest direct action – banner drops, swift sit-ins, roof occupations, chaining people to the railings and the like. We hope that will be happening all over the country on September 17.

News of these sort of actions will encourage other people to act, and make rallies and marches bigger. The Vestas workers may win by September. But if they do not, a strong day of action will worry the government, and when the universities start again, we want another day of action and student occupations all over the country.

HOW TO BUILD THE DAY OF ACTION

None of these actions will just happen. People will have to start organising now. This means meetings for the town in the next few weeks. If you hold a public meeting, do it before 9 September, not on the day. But it also means small planning meetings of teachers, hospital workers and so on in each town. We also need small meetings of activists in each workplace to start planning, maybe only a few people down the pub at first. Then we need union meetings in sections, or special meetings for staff only where there is no management.

A simple but important way to start is GREEN RIBBONS. On the Isle of Wight, the Vestas workers have been making and selling small green ribbons like the ribbons people wear for National Aids Day or breast cancer. All you need is some green ribbon, some glue and some small safety pins. If a whole office or factory are wearing the ribbons, it shows people all care.

Vestas is a Danish company. The Vestas workers are hoping to go to London to the Danish Embassy, to see the Danish ambassador. Their union will also be taking Vestas workers to the TUC conference in Liverpool during the week of the day of action.

WHAT IS AT STAKE

A national Day of Action is not a small thing. No one asks other workers to do it lightly.

The Vestas workers want all their jobs back making wind turbine blades. The government can make this happen. If Vestas was a bank they would already have done it.

It’s about their jobs, but it’s about all our jobs. We are facing mass unemployment. If the Vestas workers win, every threatened workforce in the country will feel more confident in fighting for their jobs.

It’s about the island community. Unemployment is already high on the Isle of Wight. The loss of these jobs will devastate the community.

Above all, it’s about the planet. The scientists have told us that unless humanity acts, we will face a catastrophe. Everyone knows that the switch to wind power is essential to stop climate change. And Britain has the largest wind reserves in Europe.

The government knows this. They make promises to create hundreds of thousands of green jobs. But they won’t save 625 green jobs. They say the wind power industry is going to expand massively in Britain and across the world. We have to hold them to their word.

The government says they want a million green jobs in Britain. We have to hold them to that, and make sure we get the jobs now.

If the Vestas workers win, every one in this country facing unemployment will be braver. If they win, everyone fighting for green jobs will be braver. Please act, for them, for ourselves, and for the planet.

IF YOU WANT TO HELP the Campaign against Climate Change to build the Day of Action, please email findjonathan [at] hotmail.com.

Vestas workers call for September day of action

The Vestas workers in the RMT have called another, much larger, national day of action on Wednesday, 9 September. They have asked for leafletting, postering, rallies, marches and direct action on the day. They also want workplace action. That could be a school spending the day teaching about green jobs and climate change, or workers hanging a banner from the window. Or everyone in one workplace or several together could turn off their computers or down tools for fifteen minutes, half an hour or longer. More information and suggestions will follow. Please start thinking, talking and organising.

Jonathan Neale

RMT calls for full support for Vestas day of action‏

OFFSHORE ENERGY UNION RMT today called for full support for a day of action in support of the Vestas wind turbines factory campaign which will be marked by events up and down the country tomorrow (Wednesday August 12).

RMT, which represents a substantial block of the Vestas workforce, is continuing to support the fight to get the Isle of Wight factory back into production and is sending out a clear signal that the campaign for wind turbine manufacture in England is far from over.

RMT is also backing those workers who have been sacked and victimised at Vestas during the 18 day occupation and is leading a campaign to get them reinstated and to get the threat of black-listing lifted from over their heads.

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said today:

“The fight for Vestas and for the future of wind turbine manufacture in England is far from over. We are continuing to back this brave group of workers and the day of action tomorrow gives everyone a chance to send a clear message to the company and to the government that this is an issue that will not go away.”

 

Wed 12 August – NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION IN SOLIDARITY WITH VESTAS WORKERS

• BANGOR petitioning from 11am onwards by the clock tower; 6.30pm, public meeting in the Harp Inn, High Street, Bangor; tel: Iain, 07809 839793
• BIRMINGHAM 12.30pm rally outside the Government offices for the West Midlands (off Colmore Row, round corner from Halifax), St Philips Place, St Philips Cathedral park, Birmingham B3. Called by Birmingham CACC and supported by Birmingham TUC, tel: 07846 490 408
• BRIGHTON 12-2pm, leafleting/collecting in Churchill Square; 6pm, street meeting in Churchill Square, email: brightonvestassupporters@googlemail.com, tel: 07845 183407
• CARDIFF 7.30pm, public meeting with Vestas worker; Marianne Owens, Vice-Chair PCS Wales; Wayne Thomas, President of NUM Wales (tbc); Climate Camp Cymru speaker (tbc); and Adam Johannes, Cardiff Campaign against Climate Change, Riverside Community Centre, Brunel St (off Ninian Park Road)
• CENTRAL LONDON 12.30pm, meeting organised by PCS and RMT, The Dining Room, Civil Service Club, 13-15 Great Scotland Yard
• COWDENBEATH picket Gordon Brown’s constituency office, 1-3pm, 318-324 High Street, tel: 07826 517648, email: akmailie@yahoo.ie, katherine.a.mcmahon@gmail.com
• HARINGEY, NORTH LONDON 5pm-6pm, Wood Green Library, High Rd, N22, rally called by Haringey TUC and the Sustainable Haringey network
• LIVERPOOL Casa (the dockers’ pub), 29 Hope St, 7pm, RMT, dockers and Merseyside TUC meeting to set up solidarity campaign, tel: 0151 709 1786/07940 244718/07930 870934, email: j.tilley@rmt.org.uk
• NOTTINGHAM 5.15pm, rally meeting by the Left Lion in Nottingham Market Square
• OXFORD 12 noon, rally, Bonn Square, called by Oxford and District TUC
• PORTSMOUTH 5.30pm, rally at The Hard
• PLYMOUTH 12.30, the Sundial, leafleting the City Centre at lunchtime, tel: Tony Staunton 07803 620390
• SHEFFIELD 1pm, rally and leafleting outside Sheffield Town Hall
• SOUTHAMPTON rally, 5.30pm, Red Funnel Ferry Terminal, Town Quay, Southampton
• WARRINGTON 7.30-9.30am, demonstration, Vestas HQ, 302 Bridgewater Place, Birchwood Park, Warrington, WA3 6XG, tel: 07724 139278
• WREXHAM public meeting, 7.30pm Barracuda Bar, Town Hill, Wrexham LL13 8NA

Vestas – what you can do for the day of action

From Jonathan Neale, Campaign against Climate Change trade union group, On the Isle of Wight

The Vestas wind turbine workers have been evicted from the occupation, but they say firmly that the struggle goes on. They have asked for a national day of action on this Wednesday, with action of some kind in as many towns and cities as possible. This is short notice, so this email is suggestions of what we can do in different cities. It is not about why, just how.

The first thing is that the Vestas workers say Wednesday is the beginning of a national campaign. There will be another day of action, probably in September, and more action before and after that. So what you do on Wednesday is the beginning, not the end.

What can you do?

Here’s an ambitious plan. You can do what activists in Oxford have just done. They already have a rally in the centre of town called by the trades council for 5pm. They have just done a leaflet for it, and are sending it round the town activists and unions by email and then trying to get bundles to people. They are also handing out leaflets in the centre of town on Monday and Tuesday evening to build for the rally, and they are also trying to get little meetings of people in workplaces to build support on Tuesday.

Here’s a less ambitious plan. Llet’s say the plan starts with two activists in a town, and it starts now. You can be less ambitious. Still, call a rally in the centre of town, or outside town where there are many workplaces. Do a leaflet now. Don’t worry about design unless you can do that in thirty minutes. Don’t worry about lots of words, just tell people where the rally is and that it is in support of Vestas wind turbine factory workers fighting to save their jobs and the planet. Just that. Have a meeting Monday night of activists and friends who might help organise it. Book a cafe or a pub for that if you can, or hold it in someone’s house. If you only get four people from the town, because everyone you know is on holiday, don’t worry. Four people can organise a rally of 50. Don’t postpone anything because you are having trouble booking a room. Ask unions and green organisations to support the leaflet for the rally. But don’t wait for them, get a first draft of the leaflet out now and say it is called by the Campaign against Climate Change. We hare happy with that. Then, when you have more organisations, put them on the leaflet. Put the word about the rally round on local email lists and to friends.

Get leaflets to hand out at the rally. Crucially, get posters to give to people to put in their house and car windows. Hand them out to people at the rally, and get them to take them back to work to give to people. Get people to agree to go down their street leafleting or knocking on doors and handing out posters.

Here’s an even less ambitious plan. Decide to get people to meet up in the main square or in a pub on the evening of the day of action, and however many people come you sit down and decide what action you can do next week, and after that. Email and phone everyone you know, and get them to contact the people they know, and see who comes. If there are a hundred or you or six on Wednesday, you can start organising.

We also want action from climate camp and direct action people. We want banner drops, sit-ins, rushes, whatever feels right, all over the country, on Wednesday. If that’s not your style, please contact the people locally who do that and encourage them. But please make sure there is a rally too.

A national Campaign against Climate Change leaflet available for handing out on the day of action will be produced Monday.

Please don’t make the activity a stall by one organisation. That guarantees it will be small..Please involve as many organistations, unions and friends and friends of friends as possible.

Please call your local RMT union officials and ask for their formal backing, ask the local steward or official to come, and to speak. The RMT has backed the Vestas workers and has 200 members there. The local officials will be eager to help. You can find them by asking at the local station, the trades council, or calling RMT head office.

We probably can’t send you a Vestas speaker for Tuesday or Wednesday. Almost all the worker activists are madly organising the day of action on the Isle of Wight. We will be able to send you speakers later.

After this, the Vestas workers are talking about a massive national campaign. There will almost certainly be another day of action, probably in September, with enough time to build for it. People are talking about teachers getting schools to devote the whole day to classes about climate change, green jobs and Vestas – where we can’t get that, an assembly on Vestas. That day we also want large numbers of workers coming out of their workplaces at lunchtime to leaflet, and large rallies.

And we want to think about solidarity action by workers. That is not easy, but it is possible. This if for jobs and the planet. Maybe people can stop work for an hour. Maybe they can occupy their workplace for an afternoon. This won’t happen just like that, we need to build a sustained campaign and get people energised first. And when the universities come back, we want teach ins and occupations.

This is only the beginning.

As they say down here: Our Jobs, Our Island, Our Planet.