North West trade unionists call for fracking ban

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North West trade unions have issued a statement against fracking in solidarity with continuing protests in Preston New Road, near Blackpool.

Protesters are picketing Cuadrilla’s test drilling site at Little Plumpton.

Leading trade unionists said in a joint statement: “Fracking is 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.

“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 is signed by Paula Barker, Regional Convenor, 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.

Supporters of shale gas exploration and the Government insist that the industry would be safe if properly regulated.