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thanks for posting this In Wales. This story needs to be discussed, particularly for its relationship to windpower.  I am very under the gun today, with only a few hours before I leave on a journey this evening.

I do think the windpower issues are specific to this factory, and relate to very poor quality, not discussed in the media. I think they are separate issues entirely from the general union and employment issues.

I am not comfortable with how Vestas has been handling this takeover, but I am also not comfortable with the serial defects this factory produced.

Sadly, i can't yet go into detail due to today's time constraints.  (Just finished a session advising Goldman Sachs Asia, for example, hah!)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Jul 28th, 2009 at 07:00:04 AM EST
Thanks, I was hoping that those of you with a little more understanding around what has been going on would chip in.  It is never as simple as one side or the other claims it to be!
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 28th, 2009 at 08:30:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Crazy Horse:
I am not comfortable with how Vestas has been handling this takeover, but I am also not comfortable with the serial defects this factory produced.

Both of these are ultimately management failings.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Jul 28th, 2009 at 01:44:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
dvx:
Both of these are ultimately management failings.

I agree. If there are quality problems, they should fire the management and launch a quality/global productivity improvement program and retrain the workers (and the managers!).

If there is a local market, there is no reason to close the factory, unless its location poses a major logistical problem.

If the technology/design is flawed, they better change it, but then, I doubt it would be limited to this factory.

Indeed, the way they handle the conflict tells a lot about their vision/practice of management...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Jul 30th, 2009 at 11:14:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This was a factory which Vestas acquired through acquisition of NEG-Micon. it was previously Aerolaminates Ltd, and came out of both the Howden and Wind Energy Group attempts of the mid-80's.  The problem blades were to my knowledge the only blades using both carbon fibre and wood laminate, and had serious problems.

The blades are only for one turbine type nowhere near state-of-the-art, the stall-control V82 (formerly NEG Micon 82), currently being phased out anyway.  Had there been a serious onshore market in the UK Vestas could have reconfigured the plant to make other blade types.

So this was a QC problem specific to this particular blade at only this factory.

The fact that Vestas has indeed set up new factories already in the US shows that they could have done it in the UK if conditions warranted.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jul 30th, 2009 at 11:32:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, thanks for the info. I can understand that, being uncertain about the potential market, they hesitate to make heavy investments to restructure a plant with quality problems.

But then, knowing that, they should have anticipated the closing of the factory and adopted a responsible approach to restructuring (i.e. find a company willing to buy the plant / help workers to find new jobs or create their own business, retrain them and, first of all, negotiate with the trade unions...)

Seeing how despicably they behave, I doubt they tried hard...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Jul 30th, 2009 at 11:52:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Though i don't have any inside info on the decision-making process at Vestas UK, i can't understand their program. it doesn't fit with the Vestas way of treating employees globally.

Then again, even if the problem began with the UK managers, Vestas central should have over-ruled them. Whatever the mistakes were, they now have a nightmare problem which should have been avoided, and seems to be getting worse.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jul 30th, 2009 at 12:49:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 (Just finished a session advising Goldman Sachs Asia, for example, hah!)
Did you advise cyanide?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jul 28th, 2009 at 05:07:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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