Trade union leaders stand with imprisoned fracking campaigners
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Open letter
As trade unionists, we the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the four non-violent anti-fracking activists who have been convicted of 'causing a public nuisance', three of whom are now serving custodial sentences. We strongly condemn this judgement and the dangerous precedent it sets for the right to protest and take non-violent direct action against threats to the climate and the environment.

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 Secretary
Tony 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 Committee
Nita Sanghera, Vice President, University and College Union (UCU)
Tahir Latif, President PCS Aviation Group
Clara Paillard, President PCS Culture Group
Suzanne Jeffery - Chair CACC Trade Union Group
Dave Green – National Officer, Fire Brigades Union
Sam Tarry, National Political Officer, Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA)
Sarah Woolley, Organising Regional Secretary, Region 5, BFAWU
Sandy Nicoll, UNISON NEC, SOAS UNISON Branch Secretary
Rachel Drayson and Graham Petersen, Chair and Secretary of Greener Jobs Alliance
Simon Murch, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Anne Lemon, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Gawain Little, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Louise Regan, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Jess Edwards, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Stefan Simms, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Dawn Taylor, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Annette Pryce, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Patrick Murphy, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Hazel Danson, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Heather McKenzie, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Nick Wigmore, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Jackie Baker, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Joseph Wyglendacz, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Mandy Hudson, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Phil Clarke, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Daniel Kebede, NEU (NUT Section) National Executive
Hilary Chuter, President, Lancashire National Education Union (NUT section)
Sue Abbott, UCU NEC
Sean Vernell, UCU NEC
Marl Abel, UCU NEC
Lesley Kane, UCU NEC
Rhiannon Lockley, UCU NEC
Dave Muritu, UCU NEC
Elane Heffernan, UCU NEC
Margot Hill, UCU NEC
Carlo Moretti, UCU NEC
Julie Herne, UCU NEC
Sean Wallis, UCU NEC
Chris Jones, UCU NEC
Marion Hersh, UCU NEC
Barrie Wood - Chair - GMB T28 Torbay and South Devon Branch
Elizabeth Lawrence, Ex-President and Secretary UCU Yorkshire and Humberside Retired
Mike Killian, UNISON Water Environment and Transport Service Group Executive
Darren Tickle, PCS Green Rep
PCS DWP Wigan Area Branch
Tom Taylor - Asst Secretary, Waltham Forest Trades Council; Secretary, Creative & Leisure Industries Committee, TUC LESE Region
PCS R&C West Mercia Branch
Sam Mason, GMB

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