Dozen labour organisations call for a ban on fracking

pnr 170711 Ros Wills2

Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, 11 July 2017. Photo: Ros Wills

More than 20 representatives from 12 labour organisations made what they called “a unified stand” today against the shale gas industry and in support of communities opposed to Cuadrilla’s site near Blackpool.

In a signed statement, they called for a million new climate jobs across the UK and a halt to fracking.

The signatories included officials from Unite and Unison, the UK’s two largest trades unions, along with the public and commercial services union, PCS, ranked at number six, and the Universities and College Union, the biggest further and higher education union in the world.

Other representatives included the General Secretary of the Transport and Salaried Staff Association, the President of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union and officials from trades union councils across north west England.

The statement coincided with a rally (pictured below) at Preston New Road, attended by unions and groups campaigning for fossil fuel divestment and renewable energy.

The statement said:

“As trade unionists representing tens of thousands of workers in the public and private sectors across the North West, we stand in solidarity with the community near Preston New Road in Lancashire who are defending their environment and local democracy.

“We stand firm that fracking should not be forced on our local communities”.

The statement described fracking as “a bad deal for Lancashire”.

“It poses risks to local people and workers, will worsen climate change, and will not bring the clean jobs and investment that we need.

“We are calling for a million new climate jobs across the UK, including investment in the vast renewable energy potential of the North West. This investment would create tens of thousands of new jobs, while reducing the devastating effects of climate change.

“We call for a halt to all fracking-  in line with Wales, Scotland, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, France, New York State and many other places around the world, which concluded that the risks are too great.”


Paula Barker, Regional Convener, UNISON NW

Ian Hodson, President of BFAWU (Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union)

Clara Paillard, President of PCS Culture Group (Public & Commercial Services)

Zita Holbourne, PCS National Vice President

Manuel Cortez, General Secretary of TSSA

Michael McKrell, Chair, UCLan UCU

Mohammad Taj, Unite, former TUC President

Chris Baugh, PCS Assistant General Secretary

Janice Godrich, President of PCS Union

Martin Meyer, Unite the Union National Executive Committee & Secretary of Sheffield TUC

Peter Billington, Secretary, Lancashire Association of Trades Union Councils

Dave Savage, Secretary, Preston & South Ribble TUC

Peter Thorne, Secretary, North East Lancashire TUC

Suzanne Jeffrey, UCU, Campaign Against Climate Change

Jonathan Neale, UCU & Campaign Against Climate Change TU group

Graham Petersen, UCU & Greener Jobs Alliance

Steven North, Secretary of Salford City UNISON

Stephen Hall, President of the Greater Manchester Association of Trades Union Councils

Philip Pearson, Unite the Union & Greener Jobs Alliance

Jenny Patient, Unite & the Union & Sheffield Climate Alliance

Steve Murphy, Unite the Union, Knowsley Trade Union Council Secretary

73 replies »

  1. Spot on letter in the Guardian:

    “What we are dealing with here is a situation where activists, such as the author of this piece, fail to acknowledge reality. This is confirmed early in the article when the author states:

    “In a move which put an energy company’s profits over the wishes of a community, the government overturned the local authority’s decision to stop Cuadrilla fracking for gas here. The people of Lancashire said no – but the government ignored their objections.”

    Everyone reading the article knows this isn’t true, so the author loses credibility instantly. When the central government overturned the local government’s decision with respect to Cuadrilla’s plans, nowhere in the approval did the Secretary mention the prioritization of Cuadrilla’s profits over the welfare of local people. The decision was made in accordance with recommendations from both the local and national planning inspectors who had reviewed the applications. Most importantly, it reflected the wishes of the plurality of the electorate that had installed Mr. Javid as Secretary as he was put in place with a mandate from the people who elected him to push forward with the exploration of shale gas.

    The anti-frack activists are failing because they have relied for too long on making hyperbolic emotive arguments without basis in fact. We saw direct evidence of the downside of the strategy when the ASA forced FoE to stop making baseless claims in its propaganda. There have been countless other examples where these activists have made groundless claims and the public has become wary of their behavior as a result.

    Finally, the contradictions within the anti-frack movement have also eroded trust in the group. They march to support science on Earth Day, yet they consistently ignore scientific evidence on fracking. They call themselves “protectors” yet they terrorize workers and police every day and destroy personal property. They complain about traffic, and then slow walk in front of trucks to cause traffic congestion. They say “keep it in the ground” and drive to protest camps in their gas powered, fuel guzzling campers, where they unload their propane tanks for their fossil fuel run stoves and generators. They say that they campaign for the people, yet the plurality of voters supported gas extraction in the general election. They hold the industry to strong standards of ethics and honesty, and then produce leaflets where they lie and fearmonger. They say they are concerned for the safety of citizens when their efforts to reduce gas production will bring suffering and potentially death to thousands who live in fuel poverty.

    The UK doesn’t need divisive extremists commanding the rest of the country on how to act, while contradicting themselves every step of the way. The UK needs an energy policy that can safely and inexpensively provide for the country. That policy will include wind and solar, but it also MUST include domestic gas. Gas is relied upon for heating and electricity, and importing it is not environmentally friendly, nor is it viable for national security.”

    • Bravo Paul. I’m glad I share this little island with people like yourself. I sometimes get depressed reading the dross from the left whingers who moan about literally everything but then have no ideas of their own.
      They are risk adverse in their personal lives but are happy to burn tax payers money on loopy projects. The same as the EU. They cannot create genuine employment because they don’t understand business even in its basic form.
      If the Conservative party would become pro business they would annihilate this barmy army of Corbychev followers.

  2. Working for Ian Crane are you Paul?
    He’s a terrible presenter and has some weird views. I am not a fan at all. He made one really good documentary in the past: ‘Voices from the Gas Field’ it’s worth viewing to get an Australian perspective on the issues around fracking – CSG (mainly) in their case – but the relevance to the UK is pretty clear, and mentioned specifically in places: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3K0kV7UcME

    • CSG / CBM I recall – there is very little if any shale gas production in Australia. I am not an advocate of CBM.

          • 80% … drilling, casings, cementing, completions, fracking (simpler), pipeline distribution, condensers, trucking and all the above ground stuff pretty much the same. Methane is the product, fracking (as talked about in the doc) the process. Try again. They weren’t talking about underground combustion which is something else again.

            • So by this definition Tescos / Asda / M & S are up there also, trucking……

              The well construction is very different, the depths are very different, the targets are very different, the fluids used are very different, what is a condenser by the way (in this context)?

            • Condensers? sorry I meant compressors. Condensers are just one more thing you can add to the list for shale gas – another possible source of rogue emissions and noxious seeps.

            • CBM production involves depressurising the system by pumping out the water; eventually you get gas (if you’re lucky) Don’t know why you would want to frack.

            • Multi well pad sites, longer horizontal drilling and stimulation by hydraulic fracturing has made csg gas extraction more and more similar to shale hvhf developments in the last two decades.

    • Yes, I am on commission. It is worth following his Twitter account. The leading anti fracker at KM – King of the castle etc. Weird views? But most of the antis think he is the new Messiah? Saviour of the Planet and all that?

      • He’s mostly spot on when he’s on about the fracking industry, I admire his tenacity. But he stacks some pretty wild interpretations and conspiracy theories around his ‘geopolitical agenda’ topics – loses my interest at that point (nowhere near as bad as David Ike though).

  3. Interesting how Jo Jenkyns – at 29.30 – found herself in hospital beside several gas workers with the same symptoms Paul. I thought you said workers never got ill in your industry. They certainly cover it up well!

  4. While the Nato report mentioned in this particular link didn’t mention UK but the details of both nato and us reports clearly claims the interference was in both us and western eu including uk.

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