Sunday, August 02, 2009

Workers' Fightback: Update 13

The Vestas occupation on the Isle of Wight is continuing into a third week, following the wind turbine company's failure to obtain an eviction order in a Newport court on Wednesday.

Judge Graham White dismissed the Danish company's application to fast-track a possession order, stating he could see "no evidence of any threat of violence to property or person by reason of the individuals who are occupying the property remaining there.” He also criticised Vestas for failing to serve the possession papers to the occupiers. The case was adjourned until next Tuesday, 4th August.

Clearly, the threat of eviction still remains, because the government has made it clear it has no plans to nationalise the plant. Should the state decide to act, it could easily remove the twenty-five occupiers, despite the permanent presence of supporters on a nearby roundabout solidarity camp. Still, the 'Save Vestas' blog continues to provide regular updates from deep inside the industrial estate, and the main 'Save Vestas, Save Jobs, Save The Planet' Facebook group is here.

There was some excellent news for some other occupiers this week, whose determined direct action, with its widespread community support, has seen off police and politicians alike. Yes, Hands Off Lewisham Bridge have succeeded in securing the English Heritage Grade II listing for their school, meaning children should be returning there in September. Lambeth Council had planned to demolish the building, and replace it with a privatised 'foundation school'. They did not bargain for such dogged defiance from parents however, and the roof has now been occupied for more than three months. On Saturday, a press statement from Hands Off Lewisham Bridge concluded:
"The Lewisham Bridge victory sends a message to those in struggle (those who are against the Goldsmiths Trust in Lewisham, parents in Barrow in Furness, the campaign to save Hesketh Fletcher in Wigan) that direct action works. It is a bold step which shows that if we stand up and fight we can win. What we must do now is build on this victory and stand up together. This is a fight against privatisation and the selling off of public services; it’s a fight against redundancies and the selling off of our jobs. It’s a national fight and with our victory we send a message of solidarity to the workers in the Vestas occupation. Stand up and fight – do it together and we can win!"
Over in Ireland, two more occupations began late this week, and they are remarkable for being the first examples of resistance in retail outlets since the economic collapse began. LibCom reports that:
"On Friday 31 July Thomas Cook managers and security went to close down shops in Dublin at 10 a.m. Staff in two of the outlets then occupied their workplaces in response.

The workers, some of whom are members of the Transport and Salaried Staff Association (TSSA), have since been served a court ordered to leave the premises but are refusing to budge."

Supporters of the Dublin occupiers are being asked to 1) hand-write a message and run it through the fax: 00 35316 771258 and 00 35318 783965, 2) send emails to wendy@thomascook.ie and fennj@TSSA.org.uk, 3) Join the Facebook group, 4) sign the online petition.

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