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2018 Energy Service Group Conference
27 February 2018

Conference notes that UNISON is the largest staff trade union in the energy sector and has many thousands of members working in customer and retail operations in the big six energy suppliers.

Conference further notes that this union is proud of its members in this area and recognises the services they provide to customers day in and day out.

Due to the inadequate way the energy market operates in the UK, including excessive profits in the past and uncompetitive deals, millions of customers are switching accounts often away from the big six to smaller suppliers many of whom have no trade union recognition and treat staff poorly. This flight from the big six is putting member’s jobs at a very real risk and in the long term without some intervention could decimate our overall energy sector membership.

We must recognise that the political landscape has significantly changed in the past two years with a revitalised Labour Party promoting again the notion of public ownership and renationalisation as a means to addressing failing markets and the inadequacy of the privatised utility companies. This is to be welcomed. However, at the last General Election the Labour Party manifesto committed only to renationalising energy networks, distribution and transmission while at the same time creating new regional public sector energy retailers to compete against the big six, other private companies and municipal energy companies.

This would have led to even more job losses and high levels of anxiety for members in areas in which UNISON is strongly represented. This is not acceptable.

Conference therefore calls on the Energy Service Group Executive to;

i) Engage with the Labour Party through UNISON Labour Link, to promote the need to renationalise the customer and retail operations of the energy suppliers to protect member’s employment.

ii) To develop a strong rationale for this proposition to ensure a compelling case is made.

iii) To ensure that the jobs, pay and conditions and pensions of members in energy are protected during any future renationalisation.

iv) To work with the NEC and UNISON Labour Link to promote renationalisation along the lines this motion supports, and the very clear benefits to all concerned by such a move including all energy members.