Vestas Closes Factory In Labor Dispute

LONDON (AP) -- Danish company Vestas Wind Systems AS shuttered its British wind turbine factory on Wednesday, even after workers barricaded themselves inside for more than two weeks in a bid to stop the closure.

The closure of the factory on the Isle of Wight, the only wind turbine manufacturer in Britain, and another site in the nearby port city of Southampton resulted in the loss of 425 jobs.

Six workers barricaded themselves inside the Isle of Wight plant for 18 days in a bid to delay its closure, while green activist group Climate Rush chained themselves to the home of British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson in north London in what they said was an act of solidarity.

Vestas eventually sought a court order to clear the protesters.

"The decision to close the factory was very difficult and we fully recognize the impact this will have on employees, their families and on the Isle of Wight," Ole Borup Jakobsen, president of Vestas Blades, said in a statement. "Nonetheless, this commercial decision was absolutely necessary to secure Vestas's competitiveness and create a regional balance between production and the demand for wind turbines."

Vestas has blamed sluggish demand for wind turbines in northern Europe for its cutbacks.

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