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GMB reaffirms support for fracking

DELEGATES at GMB congress voted to continue the union’s support for “safe and respectful” fracking yesterday.

A mix of “nuclear, gas, solar, wind and any other economically viable renewable options that come along” would be required before renewable sources could fully power British homes and infrastructure, a statement endorsed by the conference read.

It said shale gas production, known as fracking, “should be permitted” and that the union should work to organise workers in the sector.

GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith said: “The first priority of any credible union should be the defence of its members’ interests and the communities where they live and work.

“No-one in this union does not recognise the importance of tackling climate change … but we cannot do so by turning a blind eye to the economic and employment inequalities that scar this country.”

But north-west and Irish delegate David Flanagan said: “The only people aligned politically to us on this issue are the Tory government and the fracking companies themselves.

“Energy is a serious issue — but so is the future of our own planet and communities.”

A southern region delegate was barred from speaking against the executive statement as his region was mandated to support it.

An anti-fracking motion warning that the union’s stance on the issue was “vastly out of step with public opinion” fell off the agenda when the executive statement passed.

The union’s own research showed solar sources had produced 10 per cent or less of its installed capacity to the electricity grid on 144 days over the past year.

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