Update: a small but determined occupation of one of the factories began last night; see report on the BBC website.
I went to the Isle of Wight (population c.120,000) yesterday. First time ever but instead of seeing the sights, I sat in a cafe designing leaflets on a laptop. The campaign to save the Vestas Blades UK factories on the island is hotting up.
It's quite a conservative - and Conservative - island but most of the residents are supporting the campaign by a number of Vestas workers, the island's trades councils and the Workers' Climate Action group to keep two wind turbine blade factories open.
The factories are owned by Vestas Blades UK, part of a multinational company. Vestas is highly profitable but the company doesn't want to invest in machinery to upgrade the factories, and they can make bigger profits elsewhere, so they are bailing out of the UK - and their home country Denmark where more than a thousand jobs have gone already.
The campaigners on the Isle of Wight are calling on the government to intervene - to nationalise if necessary - to save the 600 jobs at Vestas, Isle of Wight and the further jobs on the island that will be lost if Vestas closes. For an investment of £51 million they could have state-of-the-art factories producing wind turbine blades for this massive expansion of wind energy they have been talking about.
The South East England Development Agency has acquired land on the island to build sustainable industries - you pass the unploughed fields on the drive out of Cowes! SEEDA could step in to invest in Vestas.
A campaign blog is starting to look good - savevestas.wordpress.com - and there are two meetings planned this week on the island: on Wednesday night, a meeting to set up a community campaign and, on Friday evening, a public rally in Newport from 5.30pm. Please send messages of support to firstname.lastname@example.org.