UNISON calls for living wage in energy sector

In 2012 ShareAction and a coalition of investors, including UNISON’s staff pension fund, sent a letter to the CEOs of FTSE100 companies calling for the application of a living wage across all UK operations.

Today we are asking for support to achieve the living wage for all employees in the UK energy sector. If you contribute to a pension fund then your money buys shares in the energy companies.

To make a difference UNISON members will be asked to send an email to their pension fund. This will be done through the website of ShareAction’s, our campaign partner:


Energy companies make significant profits from the operations. Recently the prime minister, David Cameron, said that employers should pay the living wage where they can afford it. We believe that the energy companies can.

The point of the asking the companies we invest in to pay the living age is not a political one. It’s to ensure that the company is treating its workforce with respect and improve their living standards. This is good for the economy because it will enable them to spend more – which will encourage growth. This is a virtuous circle as the economy improves so will profits which will feed into returns for our pension funds.
The main companies are:

  • Scottish Power – Iberdrola (Spain);
  • Electricté de France – EDF (France);
  • nPower – RWE (Germany);
  • British Gas (UK);
  • SSE (UK);
  • National Grid (UK).

Call for support
UNISON staff pension scheme and ShareAction seeks the support of our members’ pension fund representatives and others:

  • UNISON members’ pension funds can assign us their fiduciary mandate to engage with those energy companies where they are shareholders, and to speak on their behalf at the AGMs and with the boards;
  • UNISON members’ pension funds who are willing to engage with the companies through collective action with us – or on their own, if they wish.

With your help we will express to these corporations that the greatest asset a company has is its workforce and they must be valued and rewarded with a minimum of: living wages; safe and healthy working conditions; a right to organise; and collectively bargain without fear or intimidation.
Together with our campaign partners and many of our members’ pension funds we will present the issues at the AGMs of the energy companies, speaking directly to board members about our demands.
For further information please contact Colin Meech, national officer, on c.meech@unison.co.uk