These are by far the longest prison sentences imposed on activists defending the environment since those jailed for the Mass Trespass in 1932. It can only be seen as politically motivated in support of a government that has shown it is prepared to ride roughshod over the democratic rights of citizens to achieve an end for which it has no popular support.
This is a clear example of the state acting in the interests of big business in the face of opposition to fracking by the community at Preston New Road, and across the UK more widely. It is important to recall the concerns raised by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Assembly in his report in 2016 regarding the "collusion between law enforcement authorities and private companies" in relation to fracking protests.
At the TUC Congress in 2018, the trade union movement called for a moratorium on fracking in England which has already been stopped in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Many of us believe it should be banned in full. There is no safe fracking. It is not safe for the environment, water supplies, citizens or workers, or in addressing climate change concerns.
Trade unionists have long seen their legitimate rights oppressed with the use of force, and are proud to support of our sisters and brothers taking a stand against injustice. The treatment of striking miners at the so called 'Battle of Orgreave' remains a potent symbol of the underhand tactics of the state against the working class for which justice is still being sought over thirty years later.
We need investment in a publicly owned and democratically controlled energy system, which can oversee the transition to renewable energy. A transition that is just by providing social protections for workers, and creates unionised sustainable jobs across all sectors as we develop a new zero carbon economy.
We stand in solidarity with the imprisoned anti - Fracking activists and support the call for a judicial review of this absurdly harsh sentence, and an inquiry into the wider attacks on the right to protest and freedom of assembly.
Manuel Cortes, General Secretary, Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA)Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary, National Education Union (NEU)Ronnie Draper, General Secretary, Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU)Mark Serwotka, PCS General SecretaryTony Kearns, Senior Deputy General Secretary, Communication Workers Union (CWU)Chris Baugh, Assistant General Secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)Ian Hodson, National President, BFAWU Kiri Tunks, NUT President (NEU)Zita Holbourne, PCS Vice President and Chair of International CommitteeNita Sanghera, Vice President, University and College Union (UCU)Tahir Latif, President PCS Aviation GroupClara Paillard, President PCS Culture GroupSuzanne Jeffery - Chair CACC Trade Union GroupDave Green – National Officer, Fire Brigades UnionSam Tarry, National Political Officer, Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA)Sarah Woolley, Organising Regional Secretary, Region 5, BFAWUSandy Nicoll, UNISON NEC, SOAS UNISON Branch SecretaryRachel Drayson and Graham Petersen, Chair and Secretary of Greener Jobs AllianceSimon Murch, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutiveAnne Lemon, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutiveGawain Little, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutiveLouise Regan, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutiveJess Edwards, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutiveStefan Simms, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutiveDawn Taylor, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutiveAnnette Pryce, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutivePatrick Murphy, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutiveHazel Danson, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutiveHeather McKenzie, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutiveNick Wigmore, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutiveJackie Baker, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutiveJoseph Wyglendacz, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutiveMandy Hudson, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutivePhil Clarke, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutiveDaniel Kebede, NEU (NUT Section) National ExecutiveHilary Chuter, President, Lancashire National Education Union (NUT section)Sue Abbott, UCU NECSean Vernell, UCU NECMarl Abel, UCU NECLesley Kane, UCU NECRhiannon Lockley, UCU NECDave Muritu, UCU NECElane Heffernan, UCU NECMargot Hill, UCU NECCarlo Moretti, UCU NECJulie Herne, UCU NECSean Wallis, UCU NECChris Jones, UCU NECMarion Hersh, UCU NECBarrie Wood - Chair - GMB T28 Torbay and South Devon BranchElizabeth Lawrence, Ex-President and Secretary UCU Yorkshire and Humberside RetiredMike Killian, UNISON Water Environment and Transport Service Group ExecutiveDarren Tickle, PCS Green RepPCS DWP Wigan Area BranchTom Taylor - Asst Secretary, Waltham Forest Trades Council; Secretary, Creative & Leisure Industries Committee, TUC LESE RegionPCS R&C West Mercia BranchPCS MHCLG HQ BranchSam Mason, GMB
Full list of signatures at https://www.cacctu.org.uk/fracking_protesters_solidarity