Wind power firm cuts 600 UK jobs despite ‘green’ Budget

Government plans to create a million ‘green’ jobs were dealt a fresh blow yesterday after a UK wind power firm announced it would slash hundreds of posts.

Danish turbine manufacturer Vestas said it would need to cut 600 jobs in Britain as part of a Europe-wide plan to lay off 1,900 employees. The company has begun consultations with trade unions, and said the credit crisis and a lack of support from the government had affected the decision.

It has not confirmed when the cuts will be made, leading unions to urge them to hold off making any decisions until government funding for the green sector announced in the Budget filtered through.

A Vestas spokesman told Personnel Today: “Headcount will be reduced in Northern Europe, particularly in the UK and Denmark, as demand at the moment does not meet expectations.”

However, he added the firm would look to take advantage of the government’s Budget funding of £525m to support offshore wind projects.

“Vestas will still have substantial excess capacity [to build turbines] in northern Europe in future compared with the current, local market prospects for the coming years,” he said.

A TUC spokesman slammed the move to cut jobs. “The loss of these jobs would not only be a blow to the emerging green sector, but would also be a personal tragedy for the hundreds of workers affected locally,” he said.

“Hopefully, Vestas will be able to delay any final decision about lay-offs until measures announced in the budget take effect.”

Vestas employs 21,000 people worldwide, and the redundancies would make up 9% of its global workforce.

Meanwhile, a survey of 400 employers by the British Chambers of Commerce earlier this week found more than half expected to make job cuts in the next six months.

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