Utility and Energy Industry Privatisation

Back to all Motions

2019 Energy Service Group Conference
20 February 2019
Carried as Amended

Many members within the above industries no longer have the luxury of a Defined Benefits (DB) pension and are relying on a much inferior Direct Contributions Pension scheme for their retirement. A lot of these workers have used the Share Save and Share Incentive Plan (SIP) share schemes within these companies to subsidise the shortfall in their pensions by using these share opportunities.

There is a big concern within these workers, that although they agree with the public ownership of utility and energy companies and many of them will be potential Labour voters, it would be like turkeys voting for Christmas, as they feel that the share price would collapse in the event of a Labour government winning power and re-nationalising these industries. This would have a catastrophic impact on the retirement prospects of a lot of these industry workers.

The branch feels that the hard-working long suffering workers within these industries should be protected from any panic slump in share price caused by the intention to re-nationalise.

This branch proposes that a future Labour government should consider carefully the impact they would have on the workforce who are small shareholders via the Share Save schemes and SIP schemes of these companies. This could be done by pledging to ensure these workers will be compensated fairly by either paying the pre-nationalisation 5-year average or current share price whichever is the greater. Or alternatively reinstating a DB pension scheme and giving the workforce the option of being credited into the scheme with the equivalent amount.

This branch believes that the above affects are not only potential Labour voters but the highly skilled committed workforce that the government will rely heavily on if they are to make a success of re-nationalising and running these industries successfully.

We call upon the Energy Service Group Executive to:

1) Note that this motion has already been raised and approved at West Midlands Regional Council in November 2018;

2) Work with UNISON Labour Link to promote re-nationalisation through Labour Party channels;

3) Work to ensure that jobs, pay and conditions and pensions of members in the Energy Sector are protected during any future re-nationalisation;

4) Work closely with the appropriate UNISON committees to increase understanding of the impact of re-nationalisation on members’ working in this sector.