Dr Lucas's submission will be delivered today (Fri 31 July) at 4pm to Cllr David Pugh by Brian Lucas from Isle of Wight Green Party and a representative of the workers at the Vestas plant.
Under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007, councils and communities have the opportunity to put forward proposals on sustainable improvements to local economic, environmental and social wellbeing. Once established, individual councils' proposals are sent to the Government. The deadline for current submissions is 31st July 2009.
Dr Lucas will call on the IoW Council to ask for Government support under the terms of the 2007 Act to ensure that:
- The workers of the wind turbine company Vestas are permitted to form a Worker Co-operative, and are supported in doing so by the government.
- Financial support (at the very least unemployment benefit) is paid to the workers of Vestas until such time as the proposed Worker Co-operative is financially viable.
"Failure to keep the Vestas plant open will represent a spectacular failure by the government to match its rhetoric on green jobs with real policy action. It should be seizing the opportunity to create a renewable energy revolution that can see us through a transition towards a more environmentally and economically stable economy. Allowing the IoW plant to close now would be a massive embarrassment for ministers - and devastating for the IoW's workers."
There are around 500 worker co-operatives in the UK. They are primarily founded as new start enterprises rather than salvaged from ones that are under threat. However, there is a strong history of worker co-operatives being established by worker buyouts of viable businesses that are due to close - think of Tower Colliery, for example, a mine bought by the miners when it was due to be closed.
Is a worker co-operative the answer for the Vesta plant?