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Model trade union resolution on
Gas & Energy prices
This branch notes:
1) That British Gas are increasing their bills to home customers by 60-70%
2) That other gas and electricity companies are increasing bills by significant amounts
3) That 5.7m households will be in ‘fuel poverty’ by end 2009 – a doubling in three years of the number of households paying more than 10% of their income on fuel bills
4) That the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) estimated in Oct 2007 that 10 pensioners would die every hour in winter 07-08, meaning a total of 20,000 old people dying from the cold
5) The decision of TUC Congress to support a windfall tax on, and renationalisation of, the privatised utility companies
6) Tony Woodley’s comments at the TUC Congress that:
“This can't be addressed by "lagging the loft"… Without help with fuel bills now, we'll be lagging the coffins of the elderly if we have a cold winter.
“The greedy oil companies have made tens of billions and in the next four years they will make an extra £15bn out of the British public. With that money they could gold plate every house in the country, never mind lag the loft. … if any trade unionist refuses to disconnect fuel or power to a pensioner or a family in poverty, they will have our full support.
“The Government must intervene [with a] windfall tax for a start. If they don't co-operate, we should legislate and regulate to cap price increases on utilities. And if they still don't get the message, the Government should consider taking these essential industries – water, gas, electricity – back into public ownership.”
7) That the government has ruled out implementing these decisions, has reassured the City bosses that decisions of the Labour conference in this regard will be ignored, and has shown no sign of willingly reversing this position.
8) That the government’s package, will, according to Gordon Lishman, Director General of Age Concern: “…leave millions of the poorest pensioners wondering how they will afford their bills this winter.”
This branch agrees
1) That the situation outlined in “Notes 1-4” is a disgrace deserving an urgent response from the trade union and labour movement
2) That Bro Woodley’s comments are the starting point for such a response
3) That home fuel bills should be immediately and drastically reduced
4) That this will require a mass campaign to be achieved
This branch further agrees:
1) To support a campaign based around “Notes 5 and 6”
2) That such a campaign should seek to involve all relevant campaigning and charitable organisations
3) That such a campaign should seek to appeal to workers within the energy industry and support those workers’ industrial concerns
4) That to support energy workers refusing to disconnect, will require an active campaign of information and support among those workers
5) That the onus should be on the utility companies to prove that instruction to disconnect is unrelated to (in)ability to pay
6) To support a public meeting based on the trade union movement to discuss these issues further
7) That the attitude of the government towards its own Party’s conference and the trade union movement, again raises the question of whether the unions should continue funding New Labour
This branch resolves:
1) To contact other labour movement organisations, individuals and campaign groups with a view to holding such a public meeting
2) To contact Bro Woodley with regard to him speaking at such a meeting