Sunday 9th March, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester
“Welcome to Manchester if you’ve come from outside our city and welcome if you’ve come from Salford, a city with which we share a great deal of history of working class and trade union struggle.
The trade union movement is against fracking.
The Trade Union Congress, which represents 54 trade unions nationally, has a position, that when they are developing new sources of energy, companies should put the good of the environment and the health of people before their own profits.
The TUC believes there should be a suspension of all fracking activity until the time, if there ever can be such a time, that fracking can be proven to be harmless for people and for the environment.
There is not a shred of evidence that that fracking is harmless but it is clear that Igas is concerned with its own profits rather than for the environment or for people, like the people who live and work and go to school near fracking sites like the one at Barton Moss.
I want to say to you that we can win against greedy companies. Last year at Hovis in Wigan, the trade union took action against the employer’s use of zero hours contracts and agency workers. The tactic they used was to go on strike and to picket the factory at 2.00 and 3.00 in the morning and to walk slowly with their supporters in front of the bread lorries to stop the bread getting out of the factory on time, to get to the supermarkets on time, to make Hovis a profit that day. They won that dispute. All of us who went there helped them win that dispute and we all won it together because of the tactics we were able to employ.
It is disgraceful that people at Barton Moss are effectively being arrested by the police for walking in the wrong place or walking too slowly. We have a right in a free society to walk as slowly as we need, or we want to, for whatever reason we want to walk that slowly and as we have done today, we must all continue to walk together to defend that right.
We have a right to peaceful protest, we must continue to stand together on this issue, we can win it if we do so, let’s keep going and stop fracking at Barton Moss.”