The wind turbine manufacturing base on the Isle of Wight, the only significantly large site in the UK, has been the scene of a sit in protest which ended last week.

Employees at the factory, and a smaller operation in Southampton, were officially given the bad news yesterday (12 August), but had faced redundancy since the firm announced a consultation on closure in April.

Danish owned Vestas put the decision down to a lack of demand in northern Europe and the fact it’s manufacturing most of its turbine blades in the United States.

Staff are being offered redundancy payments and 40 have been found new roles with Vestas on the Isle of Wight, while another 57 workers will help with the shutdown.

Vestas Blades president, Ole Borup Jakobsen, said: “This commercial decision was absolutely necessary to secure Vestas’ competiveness and create a regional balance between production and the demand for wind turbines.

“We understand and have sympathy that employees are deeply affected by the closure.

“Throughout the consultation period, minimising the impact on employees and providing all the support we can in this situation has been our first and foremost priority.

“The employee representatives and the local factory management have worked closely with local job centres and career counsellors to ensure employees have received professional help to identify alternative career and employment opportunities.”

Mr Jakobsen also gave details of redundancy payments ‘more than double those that are required by statute’ and which have been calculated on the basis of actual weekly pay.

Vestas, he said, would also be making discretionary redundancy payments to employees with less than two years service and who, on account of the length of service, would not normally qualify.

Luke Walsh

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