More than 150 delegates attended Prospect’s annual energy sector conference in Manchester on Tuesday, 4 June, where there was a unanimous vote to establish an overarching energy sector.
The adoption of the new energy sector rules brings together 22,000 skilled and specialist workers across energy generation, supply, distribution, nuclear, decommissioning, and emerging technologies.
Previously, workers in energy supply and their colleagues in the nuclear industry were led by separate executive committees with their own sector rules.
“The formation of an overarching energy sector has been talked about for a long time and those talks have now come to fruition,” remarked, Gary Swift, sector president, in his opening remarks to the conference.
“I believe it’s a good thing and gives us a stable platform to lobby Parliament on a balanced energy policy that will be fit for purpose now, and will be for generations to come.
“It also enables us to bring into the energy sector the renewables market and, as those branches develop, there will be somewhere they can develop. It will also give those already within the energy sector to have a wider view and it can only enhance our members in the future.”
The adoption of the energy sector rules was approved unanimously, comfortably clearing the two-thirds majority of the delegates that was required.
One of the highlights of the event was a Q&A session on the future for UK energy policy featuring a panel of distinguished industry leaders and experts.
The panelists were Nina Skorupska of the Renewable Energy Association; Mark Lappin of the University of Strathclyde Centre for Energy Policy and Tom Greatrex of the Nuclear Industries Association.
The lively discussion raised pressing topics such as the possibility of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the maturity and development of the renewable sector, fracking, the future of heating and the desirability of an independent energy commission to help set long-term policy.
A full report from the panel discussion will feature in the next issue of Energy Eye at the end of the June.
General secretary’s address
In his address to energy members, Mike Clancy, Prospect general secretary, said the union was well placed to face the future:
"This union has an enviable record of anticipating change, shaping change, and occasionally where necessary opposing change."
"We are at our strongest when we talk closest to our members, branch level work is the most important work.”
He concluded that:
“There is a union in this country that can be the 21st century union, that can take on and solve the challenges of the 21st century and grasp the opportunities - and that union is Prospect.”
Through the day, the energy conference debated motions on health and safety, equality and diversity, pensions, industrial policy and recruitment and campaigns.
Delegates were also able to attend different breakout sessions on tackling workplace stress, pay and conditions or membership renewal.
See the next issue of Energy Eye, which is out at the end of June, for more reports and coverage from Prospect’s energy sector conference 2019.