Monday, August 3, 2009

Climate change protesters glue themselves together

A group of climate change activists were arrested after supergluing themselves together outside a Government department in support of workers staging an occupation at a wind turbine factory.

The demonstration was held outside the head office of the Department of Energy and Climate Change in London by students backing the workers' sit-in at the Vestas Wind Systems plant on the Isle of Wight.

The protesters, who held up banners saying "Take back the wind power", said they blockaded the main entrance to the building for over two hours before they were arrested.

The Danish owners of the factory could face an injunction over claims that the protesters are being denied food.

The Rail Maritime and Transport union made a formal complaint to the police over the weekend about the actions of private security guards employed at the plant.

The union took legal advice about the treatment of the workers after claiming they were being denied access to adequate supplies of food.

Officials said they were seriously concerned about the health implications of the lack of food reaching the workers inside the factory.

One has already been forced to leave on medical advice after his blood sugar levels were found to be seriously low.

The union said it believed it had reached a deal over the weekend to take hot food in to the 10 workers who have been staging a sit-in for the past two weeks, but claimed that supplies were blocked again last night.

A spokesman said the union was now considering taking out an injunction against the company and the security firm.

General secretary Bob Crow said: "It's disgusting that Vestas are trying to starve the workers out and we are calling on the police to take urgent action against their private security company to stop this outrageous affront to basic human rights.

"We will fight with every tool available to get food in to the workers on the inside whose only crime is to fight for their livelihoods and the future of green energy."

The factory was due to shut last Friday, with the loss of hundreds of jobs, but the closure has been delayed following the occupation.

Vestas will seek repossession of the factory in a court case on the Isle of Wight on Tuesday, which is expected to attract large numbers of protesters.

A climate camp has been set up outside the factory as environmentalists join trade union activists in trying to save the plant.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber urged the Danish owners of the factory to re-think its closure decision.

"Business, unions and Government must get around the table and make every effort to secure a future for wind turbine manufacturing in the UK.

"Ed Miliband (Climate Change Secretary) has proved himself to be a champion of the green agenda and the drive to create new jobs.

"Now we are asking him to go the extra mile for the 600 workers and the production facility - the only one of its size in Britain - which is vital to building our low-carbon future. Everything must be done to look for positive alternatives."

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