Vestas Cowes rooftop occupiers: "Save the environment, scuttle a NIMBY"

Friday, August 7, 2009

Vestas Cowes rooftop occupiers enjoy a breakfast of donated curry while reading the Financial Times.
Image: Jax.

Five activists have installed themselves on the rooftop of Vestas Wind System's Venture Quays factory in Cowes, Isle of Wight, England, in support of the Vestas employees.

The five — four of whom are members of the Climate Camp which has set up in the Isle of Wight — scaled the Cowes plant, which is located about five miles (8 kilometres) north of Vestas's main Isle of Wight plant in Newport, on August 4 and have been camping on the rooftop ever since.

Martin Shaw, a self-described "environmental anarcho-syndicalist" on the roof of Vestas Venture Quays, spoke with Wikinews. He reports that while none of the five rooftop occupiers are Vestas employees, but instead consist of one RMT member and four Climate Camp members, factory employees "instigated this action" and had intended to occupy the roof themselves, but Shaw and the other four, as experienced climbers, had the technical ability and experience to accomplish the task.

While on the roof, the five are living in tents and washing in rainwater heated by the sun in black plastic bags. Food is sent up on ropes from members of the local community; unlike at Vestas Newport, the police and security are not restricting the bringing in of food and drink.

While Shaw notes that the stand of the anarcho-syndicalists on the best fate of Vestas does not exactly match that of the workers, who have called for nationalisation of the plant, "whatever their demands are are our demands".

The central message of the rooftop protest, Shaw related, is opposition to NIMBYism. "I personally have got some sympathy with Vestas", Shaw noted, accusing the Isle of Wight's MP, Andrew Turner, of on the one hand saying he supported the Vestas workers but on the other hand campaigning against wind farms being built on the island. "Local opposition is stopping wind turbines being built in this country", stated Shaw. The occupiers plan to unveil a banner tonight on the roof of the Vestas plant reading: "Save the environment, scuttle a NIMBY".

The problem, he went on to say, is Europe-wide. The upcoming Copenhagen Climate Summit, Shaw accuses, will be a "business summit rather than an environmental summit".

The Vestas Cowes occupiers plan to stay on the factory roof "until the workers want us to come down". If the police come to remove them, as happened earlier today at Vestas's Newport plant, the five occupiers say they will resist "determinedly and creatively" but offered no details. Shaw says that while they won't use violence to resist the police, "we will defend ourselves".

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