Services that keep our communities alive


Dave Prentis addresses WET conference. Photo: Steve Forrest / Workers' Photos

Dave Prentis addresses WET conference. Photo: Steve Forrest / Workers’ Photos


Your work keeps communities alive, general secretary Dave Prentis told the union’s water, environment and transport service group conference as it met in Brighton.

Mr Prentis said that the coalition governments’s dismantling of our public transport services was risking the collapse of local communities.

“When a bus service is cancelled, a community can die,” he said. “My commitment is that we will fight back on transport. We have such a good story to tell about the value of a proper integrated public transport system.”

He pledged to push for a strong commitment in the Labour manifesto ahead of next year’s general election.

“Weasel words won’t do,” he warned Labour.

UNISON will continue to fight for a national inquiry into the state of the water industry.

“Massive profits are made and the money is taken out of the country. Corporation tax is not being paid. The government should crack down on this – they have the means and the ability, they just lack the will.

“UNISON is calling for a national probity test to ensure our water companies are acting in the national interest and are paying their taxes.”

And no service had shown more clearly the value of our services to the public than the environment agency this year, he said.

“If you deprioritise the environment and cut spending, you risk the future of this nation,” Mr Prentis said. “And when this happened in the Environment Agency, the government chose to blame the workers, rather than their own policies.”

He took the opportunity to thank all water, environment and transport for the work they did in supporting members.

“Our people have gone through tremendous change,” he said, “but they are still in the union. That is a tribute to the work that you do every day to support them and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

His unbilled speech also had another aim, he said; paying tribute to Alan Jackson, national officer for water, environment and transport, who is retiring after many years service to the sector.