Tracey Yeates is a worker in the finishing shop at the Vestas Newport factory, and a member of the RMT workers’ committee
The last three weeks have taught me that if people work together, we can get things done, and we can, as a group, make a change. Perhaps before I would have turned away. I think it’s changed me as well as my opinions.
I’ve come to realise how much of a bad employer Vestas were. Before, I tended to believe what the management said and not what the workforce was saying. But now that is changed.
What’s made the difference? I suppose at the start it was because you, the activists from outside, showed us how we could do something. Then we had our own way of doing things. If everyone puts their own unique bit in, it makes a bigger picture, doesn’t it?
With Vestas, it is the first time I’ve ever worked for a company. I was always self-employed before, and I worked on my own — I was an area manager for Betterware UK — so I looked at things a different way. It suited me when the children were younger, because I could work from home, but then when they grew up, I looked for something else, and since I’d always been green-minded, I came here.
I don’t believe the company should be allowed to do this. They have no regard for their workers or for the community.
It’s difficult for me to say how this has changed my view of unions, because my husband used to be an active trade unionist, a TGWU branch official, at Ford in Southampton, and it seemed to me like he was always out on strike.
The RMT seem to be quite well-organised. My husband is a prison officer now, and he is in the POA. They don’t seem to be well organised or have any clout.
Myself, I don’t think I would work again for an employer that didn’t have a union. I would definitely make sure I was in a union before I worked anywhere else.
Now, we’ve got to make sure that the lads who were in occupation get reinstated. That has got to be number one priority. I want see green jobs on the island, of some sort — if it can’t be Vestas, then somebody else.
I worry for the future of the island community. We already have an ageing population here. As jobs go, young families will move away, and before we know it, schools will be closing