resisting redundancy and recession: appraising the tactic of occupation

by Gregor Gall

In times of recession and restructuring, the occupation or sit-in tactic is potentially a powerful tool when workers are faced with redundancy because it provides leverage that strikes often cannot. Yet, since late 2007 when the global downturn began, we have witnessed very few examples of occupation – certainly far fewer than might have been expected given the depth and extent of recession.


So to date the numerical roll call of occupations has been: Australia (2), Britain (7), Canada (4), Eire (7), France (28) and the US (1). It is worth bearing in mind the relative context of the size of the labour forces of each of these countries. Respectively, these are 11m, 31m, 18m, 2m, 28m, and 153m. Continue reading “resisting redundancy and recession: appraising the tactic of occupation”

urgent: vestas eviction due tomorrow, solidarity needed, free transport from london

An eviction of Vestas is planned for mid-day tomorrow (Friday), if you can drop stuff and come then meet at Waterloo station tonight at 22.00pm. Transport will be fully paid for. If the 600 jobs and Britain ’s only onshore wind turbine factory are to be saved then the factory needs to be occupied and defended. Experience at Visteon, the SOAS occupation and Lewisham Bridge has shown that solidarity is needed for successful occupations, and that victory is possible. With more people defending the factory it will be much more difficult for the bailiffs to evict the occupiers, or for the Vestas bosses to remove the blades and equipment. Eviction is pending, the workers inside are under huge pressure, if you can show support then please do… Continue reading “urgent: vestas eviction due tomorrow, solidarity needed, free transport from london”

all quiet on the vestas front

by Adam Ford

It was an oddly relaxed mid-afternoon on the seventh day of the Vestas wind turbine factory occupation yesterday [Tuesday 27th July], as demonstrators in the roundabout solidarity camp listened to a couple of musicians in the Isle of Wight sunshine.


With Vestas going to court on Wednesday in an attempt to get legal backing for an eviction, it was very much a case of the calm before the storm. In the meantime there was apparently little for people to do except lounge around in their tents, and occasionally shout their support to the occupiers when they came out on the balcony. Continue reading “all quiet on the vestas front”

upcoming dates for activists

Friday 24th July, London: Willis picket

There will be the weekly picket at Willis tomorrow (Friday 24th) in support of the sacked cleaners and in protest at the immigration raid there last week. Meet 12.30 outside Liverpool Street station McDonalds or go straight there: 1pm, Willis Building, 51 Lime Street London EC3

Next week, Isle of Wight: Vestas occupation

Comrades are making regular visits to the occupied Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight. Some of us will be going down in the middle of next week: email if you’d be interested in joining us.

Tuesday 4th August, London: Solidarity with cleaners in struggle

Public meeting called by the LRC, 6:30pm, Tuesday 4th August, Somerstown Community Centre, 150 Ossulston Street, near London Euston, with speakers including RMT cleaner activist Clara Osagiede, victimised UNITE activist Alberto Durango, John McDonnell MP,  the NUJ’s Jeremy Dear, Gill George from the UNITE exec, and the SOAS Unison cleaners’ rep.

Saturday 8th August, London: The Commune’s aggregate meeting

National organising meeting to discuss our positions, activism, meetings and publications, open to members and supporters of our network.

We have an open culture and we would encourage people interested in The Commune to attend, since we want as much feedback as possible from our activities and for people to feel a sense of ‘ownership’ over our network. 12-4pm: email to register your interest and find out the venue.

vestas occupied!

Workers at the Vestas wind turbine blade plant on the Isle of Wight have occupied their factory in Newport in an attempt to prevent its closure, which was scheduled for the end of this month. Their brave fight in is an example of what workers can do when they get together and take militant action to save jobs and sustainable industries.

We call upon everyone around the country to send whatever support they can to the workers at Vestas. We all have an interest in a sustainable future, and we all have a responsibility to show solidarity to workers in struggle.

We have already reported on the significance of this struggle, both in terms of its concrete objectives, and in terms of how it came about.  The occupation has occured against a background of non-unionised workers, and activists from Workers’ Climate Action appear to have made a significant contribution to the organisation so far, including introducing the idea of an occupation.

More news will follow when we have it.  A list of resources, events, and things you can to do help follows. Continue reading “vestas occupied!”

vestas – the struggle on the horizon

By Joe Thorne

An important struggle is brewing on the Isle of Wight: we all need to take note, both of what has happened so far (and the lessons we can learn from it); and the possibilities in the coming weeks.

A factory, the only remaining manufacturer of wind-farm turbines in the UK, is due to be closed by its owners, Vestas, who are making all 500 workers redundant.   The company, like so many of those making redundancies at the moment, is using the recession as cover for cuts which are motivated by nothing other than ordinary cost cutting.  Jobs are being moved to the USA.

But this is not only about jobs.   News of the planned closure has also ignited outrage in the movement against climate change.  When we should be converting to an economy based on renewable, low-carbon energy, the closure of the Vestas factory is just what doesn’t need to happen.  So Vestas is not just a class fight – though it is that.  It is a class fight which raises issues of climate change, and the tension between capitalist production, and social production.

Workers are now discussing occupying one of the two sites on the Isle of Wight, and need the support of workers and climate change campaigners everywhere. Continue reading “vestas – the struggle on the horizon”