The Romanian antifracking campaigners are hailing the news that the biggest Labour Union in UK, UNITE, with more than 1,5 million members across the UK, has restated its support for the antifracking fight in the UK. Last Thursday, after debates and increased activity on the subject of fracking, UNITE has adopted a motion put forth by Gerard Sheridan, representing the NW region of Merseyside (area around Liverpool), seconded by Tony Staunton. The new motion is reaffirming the commitment of the UNION Labour Union in the antifracking fight put forth already in 2012, at the Unite Policy Conference.
The document is briefly summing up the dangers of fracking, underlining its possible substantioal impacts on the climate change and the aggressive pursuit of this practice in the UK, despite the growing concerns regarding fracking worldwide.
Furthermore, it emphasizes the impacts of the first fracking operation in the UK, near Blackpool, Lancashire, ehen the fracking operations were suspended after the earthquakes taking place next to a fracking site.
The motion is also emphasizing the long term negative impacts of the vast majority of workers and of communities, while also making clear that the activity in itself poses a big threat to the site workers, exposed to high levels of crystalline sylica, and potentially threatened by lung cancer, sylicosis etc.
Furthermore, the paper calls for Unite to make all members aware of the dangers of fracking, to actively oppose it, to use its influence to prevent fracking operations, advise members not to work on fracking sites, nor deliver material to such operations. The support offered by the biggest antifracking Labour Union in the Uk is wideranging and can help massively for the advancement of a frackfree UK:
– support and lobby a moratorium on all fracking activities across the UK
– encourage the Labour Party (with whom it has strong ties, which has been rather supportive for fracking, so far, with few exceptions) and Labour controlled councils to take actions formally opposing fracking in the UK
– request Regiona Committees support local anti-fracking groups´activities, including the very useful help with funding
– encourage members at all levels of the union to support campaigns against fracking and to link up with local campaigners.
The proposals of UNITE go even deeper and are calling for nationalising the energy services, by calling for taking profit out of energy production and distribution and favouring the public ownership and democratic control of the energy industry with the direct input of the local communities and trade unions, in order to create a sustainable and balanced energy policy.
This support of the biggest labour union in the UK is crucial for the antifracking campaign, as it has already set-up infrastructures to mobilise the people to take action. So far, the biggest challenge of the British antifracking campaign was, as elsewhere, how to more efficiently educate people about the dangers of fracking and mobilise them.
UK has a strong tradition of Labour Unions fight and the fact that it takes up on a vital issue affecting the life of the British society makes it a modern institution. With 3 million of members across the world in total, in Ireland, North America and the Carribean, UNITE has the potential to be a game changer in the antifracking fight.
Here is the text of the motion adopted by the Union Policy Conference last Thursday.