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Spana and Unite

Unite's policy on fracking

After watching Gasland and realizing the effects on the country and its inhabitants from this industry and looking at my friends and workmates thinking they all going to be in danger from this industry . I went to one of our branch meetings and when it came to ANY OTHER BUSINESS at the end of the meeting I put my hand up and said "As far as i know i don't threaten any of you or your family but your ignorance to fracking not only threatens my family but yours also do something about it". To which I got a response of come and see us and we will put a motion together to go to policy conference.

So I went home and put together a motion to take to my shop steward and secretary when I got to see them they said they never had time to do a motion. I told them I had put one together and presented it to them. They read it and said it looked good and we put it forward. After that the process started going to regional then to policy conference. Ours was one of 4 motions put forward on fracking which got merged together to come up with unites policy on fracking.

After that the policy seemed to have been shelved and ignored . Meaning no members were being informed of the dangers of fracking to them and they families . I went to my local office and inquired about this as I couldn't understand why the policy wasn't been implemented ? I was told to write to regional which I did but got no reply.

After the North Yorkshire's council decision to give the go ahead to frack at Kirby Misperton. I went along to our local peoples assembly meeting as I thought they would have been at the one of the demos . Knowing that some of those present I asked how many were unite members and about half present at the meeting said they were. I then asked how many have been told by they union about the dangers of fracking ? ( part of Unite's policy on fracking), none had. The chair then looked up the policy on his phone and read it out. This was not the policy that was pasted at conference. Feeling confused I didn't know what to do or were to turn.

Seeing that the General Secretary of Unite was on tour to stand for re-election. I decided to go along to a Question and Answer evening.

I got the chance to ask a question. Which was ... Can a policy pasted at conference be altered in anyway between been pasted and then put on website or conference booklets etc?.

The reply I got was NO. I then said one has to be asked which one. The one on fracking was my reply. I was then asked to see the general secretary at the end.

Which I did and showed him the policy and explained what was missing . He was fantastic, said he would look into it . Maybe it was a typo ? I also asked could he give me it in writing as I keep getting ignored, I was getting no reply to letters etc. He did and I also asked for a photo of him doing this he agreed.


So Len McCluskey got re-elected as Unites General Secretary and this was my first day off work (25th april 2017) for a long time. I decided to go to my local office and see if I could get some support from my union to help keep Yorkshire frack free. I had a chat with a lady in the office .She told me to contact our regional officer and also gave me an email to contact somebody else within the union. Which I will now pursue in an attempt to get Unite the union to uphold their policy.

On 27th April I emailed the following to these people ,,

"To all. I think unites policy on fracking is a fantastic one and it shows what a great organisation it is .Ive added a copy of the policy passed at conference (not the one on your website as that one has a word ommitted) and though very little of it has been achieved i was wondering when it would be ? That is because fracking is now been rolled out with the support of this government . Though they are some people consciously aware of the dangers and harm this will cause to our population and are doing what they can to prevent it. I can't help thinking that if unite had implemented they policy the situation would be very different . If you need help putting the policy into practice they are plenty of well informed people who im sure would help you do this . I myself would help if necessary and have tried on numerous occasions to ask unite for help or when are they going to carry out they policy but it always falls on deaf ears . Thanks for any help your brothers and sisters need it .

David Spence"

I never got the decency of a reply from any of them in two weeks . Do I have a problem communicating ?

I've now decided to create a 38 degrees petition. Please sign and share thanks.

Anyway after going to a meeting of unions in Blackpool I talked to a few shopstewards there and one informed me unite will only take notice of their own union members so it would be best to get motions put into regional commitee's from your branch and others.
Seeing as Durham miners gala was coming up we decided to do a display showing whats at risk if fracking gets into the UK
We also had a board asking Unite to impliment its policy A.S.A.P. and a hard copy of the 38 degrees petition for people to sign . The day was great, I met some other shop stewards who said they will put motions forward as well as my branch.
Seeing it was also a solidarity weekend at Kirby Misperton protection camp after the gala we headed off they with the board and petition . It was a great weekend

On 5th November I wrote to Unite again

Hello Gail,

Your name was given to me for being responsible for the implementation of the fracking policy by The North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional committee.
In the policy it states that unite the union should inform all they members of the dangers of fracking .
Could you please tell me what unite think the dangers of fracking are? and how many members have been told?
Ive searched high and low for these answers been in regional offices . Spoke to lots of members and officials yet nobody seem to have an answer or i get no reply .Ive even started a 38 degrees petition asking unite to implement they policy

On 7th November I got this reply

Dear David,

What Unite sees as the dangers of fracking is set out in the attached. Also attached as an example of our work on this issue are the notes of a meeting with the Shadow front bench within the Trade Unions for Energy Democracy campaign. Unite Regions are in the forefront of campaigning on the issue, for example in the North West where activities are supported by the Region, Branches and Community membership. Unite worked with Labour on the Manifesto and you are aware that the LP position is now to oppose fracking.

I hope this is helpful.

Gail Cartmail

I replied

Thanks I know the policy and when I asked does this over write the previous policy which isn't the one on your website as its omitted a word from the one passed at conference I was told that it compliments the previous policy . Which states unite should tell all they members at every level of the union the dangers from fracking.
Now personally I don't think unite has done this, I'm not trying to be awkward I'm just going off data that's out there from previous fracking operations and know a lot of the dangers. But I would still like to know what Unite are telling they members ?

David Spence

I'll keep you updated when there is more news