30 Jul 2009

Pizza and P45

The Vestas occupation continues, although the company has now identified some of the occupiers. They've obviously taken a leaf out of the 'creative protest' book, in that they delivered pizza and soft drinks, along with notices that the identified workers are going to be sacked. The Grauniad has some pretty decent footage here, while even the Daily Mail is getting in on the story now.

What intrigues me about the whole thing is that I would expect organised continental workers to do this sort of thing, as British unions are generally so toothless on the whole that they tend to write strongly worded letters, and get pushed around quite a bit, like a pantomime horse:

The French of course, are always way ahead of us. "An occupation you say? Pof! Zis is, 'ow do you say, zer chicken feed". They've gone a step further by kidnapping their bosses until their demands are met, at such companies as Sony and Hewlett Packard. More on that here.

Whether the Vestas occupation will achieve its objective remains to be seen, but I would say the impact goes beyond one factory. Whilst my own union, Unite, has managed to be visible at a lot of actions, such as the wildcat strikes at the Lindsay Oil refinery, they've certainly not demonstrated the joined-up thinking of the Vestas campaign, which has united both trade unionists and environmentalists. Leader Derek Simpson made a third runway a policy of his recent re-election, and it remains official Unite policy.

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