Unite the Union – solidarity with Anti-Frackers

Global Frackdown Rally, Sheffield, 13th October 2018

Jenny Patient, speaking on behalf of Unite the Union, where I am an activist and researcher.

First, I want to tell you a story – last Tuesday, I was with full-time officials from Unite, who are members of the Low Carbon Task Force in Yorkshire and Humber. We were talking about the floods which hit Leeds over Christmas 2015.

They told me how an engineering company closed its plant on Kirkstall Road in the aftermath, with the loss of

  • around 100 well-paid, highly skilled jobs, and
  • several generations of employment. And
  • all the pride that came from making car parts that were used in the cars their neighbours drove.

The workers put a plan forward to keep the jobs, but the company moved the production elsewhere.

These Unite officials were very clear this was due to climate change. They are desperate to make sure that similar disasters don’t happen again – communities losing out through job losses, in which those most affected have no say.

Unite and other unions are organising a training course for union reps in the most polluting industries, about the transition needed, to meet the Paris Agreement. Workers will start negotiating with employers for a low-carbon future.

The IPCC report this week has been a wake-up call to show how urgent and enormous, but how feasible, this task is.

Unite the Union has produced an Anti-Fracking Toolkit – a comprehensive guide to the myths of fracking, and how to organise against it.

The Foreword, by our Assistant General Secretary, Gail Cartmail, says “Despite the industrial claims to the contrary, there is no desperate need for the extraction of oil or gas from these locations to bolster the long-term security of supply of these resources, it is pure greed over the will of the people.”

Unite’s Toolkit draws attention to the way fracking sites in the US have become long-term storage for toxic chemicals and rusting abandoned equipment. It says: “Unite believes that the development of such sites is far from sustainable, and puts at risk the health and wellbeing of residents, who may well be our members”.

So, I bring solidarity today from Britain’s largest trade union, which is committed to helping you stop fracking – you can find the Unite Anti-Fracking Toolkit on the Sheffield Climate Alliance website.

Unite Anti-Fracking Toolkit final – June 2018