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Vestas workers end occupation after 18 days

The occupation of a wind turbine factory that is set to close, costing 625 people their jobs, ended when workers left the building after an 18-day protest.

Hundreds of supporters cheered for the six men as they left the plant in Newport on the Isle of Wight. One worker jumped from a balcony before security guards led him away, waving and smiling at climate change activists and trade unionists. The factory's owner, Danish-owned Vestas Wind Systems, obtained a court order this week to repossess the building. Bailiffs gave the workers until noon yesterday to leave. They complied with the ultimatum, saying that they had always wanted the protest to be peaceful. They barricaded themselves into the factory in a bid to delay its closure and a climate camp was set up outside the building. The Rail Maritime and Transport union backed the protest and criticised the factory's owners. Its general secretary, Bob Crow, said the workers were heroes and had turned a local dispute into a global struggle for green energy and green jobs.