Caroline Lucas, Green Party MEP for the South East region, which includes the Isle of Wight, visited the ‘magic roundabout’ today, Friday 9 October, the camp outside the Vestas plant in Newport, Isle of Wight.
She discussed with former Vestas workers who had occupied the factory to protest against job losses, their supporters, Isle of Wight trades unionists, and the Island Turbine Action Group (ITAG), which campaigns for a wind turbine on the Island. The roundabout regulars made her soup for lunch, and presented her with a support Vestas workers t-shirt and CD, and she made a donation to the ongoing campaign.
FROM THE GP WEBSITE
Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, will join ex-Vestas workers today at their ‘magic roundabout' protest camp on the Isle of Wight.
Lucas will meet with workers, community representatives and campaigners at the camp. She will discuss the ongoing protest against the loss of 600 jobs at the Vestas wind turbine manufacturing plant in Newport, which closed in the summer.
Ahead of her visit, Caroline Lucas said:
"The decision to close the Isle of Wight facility represented a spectacular failure by Government ministers to adequately promote green industries, protect the future of manufacturing in this country and safeguard British jobs."
"This was a massive loss for the 600 skilled workers made redundant - and it made a mockery of the UK's attempts to position itself as a leader in green energy and environmental policy. And now, as a reward for trying to defend their jobs, some of these workers are being deprived of their redundancy payouts."
"An invigorated renewable energy industry could provide hundreds of thousands of skilled, green collar jobs, taking full advantage of the UK's proud manufacturing heritage, while simultaneously tackling climate change."
"The local authorities must now continue to push the Government for a Sustainable Community Strategy for the Isle of Wight and ensure that the workers have a direct say in the Council's plans to enhance the renewables industry on the island."
Lucas concluded: "The time for empty promises on green jobs is over. If the Government can channel money into a new North East England wind turbine manufacturing facility, it should pledge financial aid and support for the Isle of Wight - including retraining workers where necessary, and finding new employment opportunities as soon as possible."
Notes to Editors
1) For more information, see: savevestas.wordpress.com
2) Lucas's visit will begin at 11:30am, at the protest site, St Cross Industrial Estate, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 5WU