Unite press release

For immediate release: Monday 11 September 2023

Unite leader calls on Labour to back Britain on public ownership of energy

Public, democratic ownership of the entire energy network can end profiteering, make energy affordable for all, and create new jobs in a sustainable industry.

TUC congress has thrown its weight behind Unite’s campaign for full public, democratic ownership of the energy network in the interests of workers and our communities.

Public ownership of energy could have saved the UK nearly £45bn in 2022, over £1,800 per household (see notes to editors).

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham called on Keir Starmer directly to take action: “Our economy is broken. Energy privatisation has failed – pure and simple. It has crippled our communities and what remains of our industrial base. Labour needs to back Britain and bring our energy into public hands.”

“And don’t let anyone tell you we can’t afford it. It would cost just £90 billion. We are a two trillion-pound economy. Of course, its affordable. It’s a choice.”

“It does seem that our politicians are pro-nationalisation, as long as it’s another country owning it.”

Speaking about the strategy of defending and extending collective bargaining as the primary way workers can challenge profiteering and economic inequality for ourselves, Sharon Graham said: “At Unite we have had more than 900 disputes covering over 200,000 Unite members just in the last 18 months.”

“Unite has won over 80 per cent of those disputes and put more than £400 million pounds back into workers’ wallets. Backed by a strike fund of over £30 million, Unite has put our money where our mouth is and backed members in dispute by all and every means.”

“But when the crisis began, we were told to back off. That workers asking for a pay rise was a national disgrace. That it was driving up inflation. We were told this by the same people who clapped like seals before the last financial crash. A crash they never saw coming.

“We won’t take any lessons from the pied pipers of the establishment because it wasn’t wages pushing up inflation, it was rampant profiteering on an unprecedented scale.”


Contact: Ciaran Naidoo 07768 931 315 

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