The Socialist Unity Network

WESTLAND - start peaceful production


On Monday September 13 there will be a demonstration outside Westland
Helicopters in Yeovil to remind local people of the human and environmental
cost of the arms trade and to call for a peaceful economy in the town.

Meet at 8am at the main entrance to Westland, off Lysander Road, Yeovil
(just past B&Q car park).

We will hold a vigil and street theatre performance simulating the
aftermath of a helicopter gunship attack on an Iraqi town. This will be
peaceful, with no violence, property damage or verbal abuse.

Please join us - you could:
    * Hand out leaflets/ hold a banner/ converse with workers and the public
    * Come dressed as a casualty/ medic/ grieving relative/ corpse
    * Make banners or placards
    * Make realistic dummies/ limbs etc
Contact 0845 456 1321, 01935 863349, or email

Westland produces military helicopters for a variety of customers including
a helicopter for sale to Africa. At least 90% of production in Westland is
military production. Most of the attacks on Iraqi people by the occupying
forces have been carried out by helicopter gunships. Many of these
helicopters were produced by Westland. Westland is owned by Finnmeccanica, an Italian company which bought out GKN’s 50% share in the company in May 2004.

After the USA, the UK is the world’s largest arms exporter. These exports
are heavily promoted. The Government does not leave this to the arms
companies, but actively goes out to sell arms: our military industry receives support which civil industry can only dream of. Westland’s profits are guaranteed by the Government under the “Cost Plus” scheme. It’s easy
money for the company and ensures the supply of weapons for the Government.

The British Government subsidises the arms trade by at least £760m per year
- about £30 per taxpayer. This money would create far more jobs in other, less capital intensive sectors such as renewable energy, transport, education or health.

Westland employs about 4,000 people. It is Yeovil’s biggest employer and one of the biggest in Somerset. The decline of engineering means new options for engineering jobs are needed. At present the trade is very reliant on the military. The workers, the plant and the premises at Westland could be of huge benefit to the world if they produced high quality, environmentally beneficial technology. There is an increasing need, and a growing market, for cutting-edge environmentally sound, peaceful technological solutions in transport and energy generation. There is even a market for civilian helicopters.

August 2004


For Socialist Unity ~ For Internationalism ~ For Peace ~ For Justice ~ For Unity ~ For Socialism