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July 30, 2009

Vestas protesters sacked with immediate effect

Vestas protesters sacked with immediate effect

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Vestas worker stays in touch with the outside world via his mobile telephone.

Eleven of the 25 workers at the Vestas factory in Newport, Isle of Wight, England who have been carrying out a sit-in since Monday July 20 have been sacked with immediate effect.

According to one of the protesters known as “Mike”, the occupiers were given their dismissal notices concealed under slices of their evening meal of pizza. The company said that the protesters have had ample opportunity to air their point of view, and had no choice but to sack eleven of the twenty five workers that they had positively identified; and that given that the fact that the action constituted a “fundamental breach” of trust, that the eleven would not be entitled to redundancy packages. A press release from the company said that Vestas “saw no other choice than to dismiss the 11 employees, who the company has positively identified as the employees currently participating in the occupation of the factory.”

The protesters remained upbeat, vowing to continue their occupation and have called upon the UK government to save the 625 jobs and to nationalise the Danish owned factory. Occupier Ian Terry told the BBC that if the occupiers are forced out, they plan to leave the building “peacefully”.

Vestas management were dealt a setback today in ending the occupation as Newport County Court ruled that the papers accusing the occupiers of aggravate trespass and requiring they surrender the office they occupy by July 29 were improperly served. The case has been adjourned until Tuesday August 4. In court, Judge Graham White said he was “distinctly uncomfortable” with what he perceived as Vestas’ effort to “get around the rules” in retaking the factory from the occupiers.

Legal representation for the Vestas workers had been offered by Bob Crow, secretary of the RMT trade union. Crow has pledged the “full solidarity” of the RMT and seven other unions with the workers occupying the plant.

Vestas management has also been providing the occupiers with hot meals in an apparent response to Crow’s announcement, made on July 24, that the RMT was planning on airlifting food into the factory by helicopter. Crow is meeting today with Ed Miliband, the Environment Minister.

Earlier in the week, Miliband pledged £6 million in funding to an expansion of Vestas’ Isle of Wight research and development centre, which currently employs 110 workers and could, said the Minister, be expanded to employ 40 more.

Vestas workers spend time outside on a factory balcony

Rallies continued throughout the week in support of the Vestas occupiers. Since the occupation began, the Vestas workers have received declarations of support and solidarity from a wide swathe of the British left, including but not limited to: political parties Green Party, Respect, the Socialist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, the Alliance for Workers Liberty, and the Communist Party of Britain; the TUCG group, which brings together the BFAWU, FBU, NAPO, NUJ, PCS, POA, RMT, and URTU; and environmental groups Greenpeace, the Campaign against Climate Change, Climate Camp, and Workers’ Climate Action, who claims credit for initiating the campaign to occupy the factory. Attendees of the Big Green Gathering, a large annual environmentalist rally which was due to take place starting today but was suddenly canceled on Sunday, are being encouraged to go to the Isle of Wight and take part in support rallies for Vestas instead.

Speaking to Wikinews about the “red-green” coalition supporting the occupation, a spokesman for the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty said: “We think this struggle is important on at least three grounds — it is central to the struggle for jobs, it is central to the struggle for the environment, and it is central to the struggle for rebuilding the labour movement.”

Photographs shared with Wikinews by the occupiers show the occupiers, mostly young men, talking, carrying out everyday tasks, and keeping in touch with the outside world via mobile phones. The use of mobile telephones in the Vestas occupation has given the press remarkable access to the occupiers and provided an effective platform for relaying their demands and feelings to the media. In contrast, Vestas’s designated media contact for the United Kingdom is on vacation. Attempts to reach Vestas Newport factory manager Patrick Weir, whom a Vestas representative at the company’s Danish headquarters stated was handling press inquiries regarding the occupation, received no reply.

Vestas plans to close the factory on July 31, citing the difficulties of obtaining planning permission for wind farms in the United Kingdom. All blades manufactured at Vestas’ Newport plant are sent to the United States. 1900 employees of the company in Northern Europe face job losses, 625 of them in Vestas’s plants in the south of England.



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May 5, 2006

Conservatives make gains in English local elections

Conservatives make gains in English local elections

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Friday, May 5, 2006

Most of the results have now been declared from the local elections that took place across England yesterday. The Conservative Party has made the biggest gains, winning 316 new council seats and gaining a net control of 11 new councils. The Liberal Democrat party also made some gains, getting an overall bigger share of the vote than Labour, but only winning a modest 18 or so extra councillors.

The British National Party has doubled its number of councillors, winning 11 seats in the Barking and Dagenham area, as well as a few elsewhere. The Green Party has won a few extra councillors. The RESPECT party won 12 seats on the council of Tower Hamlets, making them now the official opposition.

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UK local elections, 2006

Robin Wales has been re-elected as the Mayor for the London Borough of Newham, Dorothy Thornhill re-elected the Mayor of Watford and Steve Bullock re-elected as the Mayor for Lewisham. Results have not yet been announced for the election of the Mayor of Hackney.

In an immediate development, Tony Blair sacked Charles Clarke from the post of Home Secretary.

Initial estimations suggest that turnout was 36%, a reduction of three points compared to 2004.

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  • “Voting day for local elections in England” — Wikinews, May 4, 2006

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May 4, 2006

Voting day for local elections in England

Voting day for local elections in England

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Thursday, May 4, 2006

Voting day, Thursday 4th May, has begun for the local elections taking place in England. The elections will appoint local councillors, and, in some boroughs, local Mayors. Council elections include all 32 London boroughs, 36 metropolitan boroughs and 88 non-metropolitan districts. Mayoral elections will be held for Hackney, Watford, Newham and Lewisham. In the non-London council areas, the voting will affect either a third or half of the total number of councillors. In London, all council seats are up for election. Some council areas are not taking part in the election.

Polling stations will open between 07:00 and 22:00. Many voters will also have had the opportunity to apply for a postal vote. Counting begins once the polls close, with the results typically available in the early hours of the next morning.

The Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties have all launched major campaigns, as have some smaller parties such as the Green Party, UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party), Respect and the BNP (British National Party).


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December 11, 2005

Hundreds attend \”International Peace Conference\”

Hundreds attend “International Peace Conference”

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

On Saturday 10 December 2005, Tony Benn spoke to around 1,500 people at the opening rally of a peace conference at the Royal Horticultural Hall in London organised by the Stop the War Coalition in opposition to the occupation of Iraq. Tony Benn told the amassed conference delegates that the anti-war movement, which is calling for troops to be withdrawn from Iraq, is the biggest he had seen in his lifetime.

Throughout the long day, from 10am to 8pm, there were 33 speakers in total. Among these was Cindy Sheehan, American anti-war activist whose son, a soldier, died in Iraq. She spoke in a session along with among others Reg Keys and Rose Gentle from Military Families Against the War. Several speakers who had travelled from Iraq spoke, including Hassan Juma, president of the Iraqi trade union the Southern Oil Workers’ Union. He condemned what he claimed were attempts by America to strip Iraq through privatizing its services. Sheikh Hussein al Zagani, a representative of Muqtada al-Sadr, was due to speak at the conference but was reportedly denied a visa.[1]

George Galloway, the RESPECT MP, closed the conference in a speech in which he urged people to build for a planned international demonstration on the 18th of March next year.

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May 12, 2005

U.S. Senate: U.K. and French politicians were allocated Iraqi oil

U.S. Senate: U.K. and French politicians were allocated Iraqi oil

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

A U.S. Senate committee, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), released evidence in a probe that purportedly suggests that two U.K. and French politicians received vouchers for millions of barrels of Iraqi oil in exchange for their support of Saddam Hussein’s regime under the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program (OFP).

Under the OFP program, Iraq was allowed to sell its oil rights to whomever it wanted, and at a below-market price. These oil rights could then be re-sold for a higher price, usually between 3 and 30 cents a barrel. U.K. MP George Galloway and French Senate member Charles Pasqua are accused of having these rights allocated to them as a reward for opposing the U.S lead economic sanctions on Iraq. However, no evidence was presented showing that those politicians had received any money benefit out of the scheme.

The PSI committee found Hussien-era documents that appear to show the two politicians received these oil rights. They also heard from officials from the old regime who confirmed the documents.

George Galloway, who won re-election to the British Parliament in a surprise victory, is accused of receiving allocations for 20 million barrels of oil. He is also accused of using the Mariam Appeal, a campaign he set up “to campaign against sanctions on Iraq which are having disastrous effects on the ordinary people of Iraq” which was best known for flying an Iraqi child to England for Leukemia treatment, to conceal the transfer of 3 million barrels of oil.

Galloway, a member of the new British left-wing anti-war Party, Respect, won a ferocious campaign for parliament last week in Bethnal Green and Bow, east London, where a sizable part of the population is of a Muslim southern Asian origin.

George Galloway won libel suits in the past against the Telegraph newpaper which claimed he had accepted bribes from the Iraqi regime. The Senate committee will be holding a further hearing on May 17, and have invited Galloway to attend, where he will be given a seat and a microphone.

Charles Pasqua, currently member of the Senate of France, was in the past Minister of the Interior, in charge of law enforcement, safety measures and relationships with local governments. His name has been cited in several corruption scandals inside France, though he has not been convicted. He currently heads a small Eurosceptic party with no representative in the National Assembly, and is generally considered to be somewhat close to Jacques Chirac’s UMP party, though he has distanced himself from that party from 1998 onwards.



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May 6, 2005

Surprise win for RESPECT Party in UK 2005 General Election

Surprise win for RESPECT Party in UK 2005 General Election

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Friday, May 6, 2005

In a victory that has come as a surprise to commentators, George Galloway, candidate for the RESPECT The Unity Coalition party, has won the election in Bethnal Green and Bow in the UK general election, 2005 with a majority of just 823. The seat had been held by Oona King, and with a majority of 10,057 in the United Kingdom general election, 2001, it had been considered to be a safe Labour Party seat.

RESPECT also took second place in East Ham and West Ham, pushing the Conservative Party into third place in both constituencies, and in Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath, pushing the Liberal Democrats into third place.

In an interview with BBC News, Tony Banks stated his belief that the large Muslim population in the constituency had voted against Oona King “because she is a black woman” and that he believed that George Galloway would have seen a far different result if he had “come to West Ham”. (In West Ham, Lyn Brown later beat the RESPECT candidate, Lindsey German.)



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Full election 2005 coverage.

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May 5, 2005

UK general election, 2005

UK general election, 2005 – Wikinews, the free news source

UK general election, 2005

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Thursday, May 5, 2005

The United Kingdom General Election

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Results:

Labour Conservative Lib Dems
355 197 62
DUP SNP Sinn Féin
7 6 5
Plaid Cymru SDLP UUP
3 3 1
RESPECT IKHH Ind.  
1 1 1  

Wikinews will have coverage of the election results at:

  • Results of 2005 United Kingdom General Election
Background:
Wikipedia
Wikipedia, Wikinews’ sibling project, has in-depth background articles on:
  • UK political parties
  • The UK House of Commons
  • The UK Parliament
  • United Kingdom politics

The 2005 UK general election was held on Thursday 5th May. The election resulted in a third term for Tony Blair’s Labour Party.

Below are the latest Wikinews stories on the campaigning parties and candidates.

Related news

Saturday:

  • UUP leader loses seat in 2005 UK General Election

Friday:

Thursday:

  • Labour wins Sunderland South with 58.6%
  • Exit polls suggests Labour Win by a 4% majority.

Monday:

April 30:

April 29:

  • UK Party leaders questioned on BBC ‘Question Time’

April 26:

  • Potential Goldsmith leak worries Labour, excites opposition

April 14:

  • Lib Dems launch manifesto, promising fairer taxation and an exit strategy from Iraq.

April 13:

April 12:

April 5:

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