UK jobs under threat amid Vestas cuts

Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has not ruled out jobs losses at its UK operations following confirmation it is to cut 3,000 jobs.

The company has plans to reduce its global headcount to 18,000 by early next year – a large drop from the 22,700 staff it employed at the start of 2012.

Vestas is fast-tracking its cost-reduction programme after reporting a fall in orders to 401MW from 4.2GW a year earlier. Senior figures have also said they predict a tough 2013 due to cuts in government subsidies and pressure from low cost Chinese competitors.

Vestas has a large presence in this country and having built 35 percent of the 800+ offshore turbines in the UK. It employs 200 people in its R & D centre on the Isle of the Wight although recently it shelved plans to build a manufacturing plant at Sheerness, Kent.

The news of cutbacks will do little to boost a sector which has been knocked by negative comments from energy minister John Hayes. Energy secretary Ed Davey was forced to reassure the UK wind industry last month after Hayes told the press that planning applications would not be supported after renewable energy generation targets were met within the next few years.