15th December 2019

Salford City Unison Branch LogoWe are delighted to report that this motion from Salford City UNISON branch was passed on Friday 7th December. It was moved by Steve North.  It sets out very clearly the present situation and the reasons for divestment, building on Salford City Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency. 

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Invest in the Future / Divest from Fossil Fuels

This branch notes:

  1. That Salford City Council declared a Climate Emergency on 17 July 2019.

  2. That, on 20th September 2019, Salford City Council supported UNISON’s efforts to mark a Global Day of Action on the Climate Emergency by promoting and participating in a mass walkout at Salford Civic Centre.

  3. That at its 2017 conference UNISON decided that they would work with LGPS to divest from Fossil Fuel extraction.

  4. That the Greater Manchester Pension Fund is heavily invested into fossil fuels, with holdings in excess of £1.8 billion.

  5. That the UK is a signatory to the Paris 2015 Agreement, committing our government to keep the global temperature increase within 2 degrees and aim for 1.5 degrees.

  6. That carbon budgets produced by the IPCC and UN show that avoiding 2 degrees of warming relies on not burning 60-80% of discovered fossil fuels. 

  7. Repeated warnings by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney that “the vast majority of [fossil fuel] reserves are unburnable” and that coal, oil and gas share prices could be significantly devalued when climate action is taken.

  8. The resulting threat to pensions that are over-exposed to fossil fuels. This includes our own local authority pension fund, and creates a risk for local pension-holders (many of whom are or were council staff) and for council taxpayers.

  9. The shortage of investment into social housing, transport, retrofit and renewables and other areas of genuine social value.

  10. The importance for a just transition for workers in the fossil fuel-related sectors, so that they receive decent and unionised low-carbon jobs.

  11. That several UK local government pension funds have already made fossil fuel divestment commitments, joining institutions around the world with total assets of over $11 trillion.

This branch believes:

  1. That the Climate Emergency is the greatest existential threat to life on this planet.

  2. That resolving it is the single biggest priority facing our members.

  3. That equipping workers with the knowledge and motivation to act is a vital first step in the emergency response.

This branch resolves:

  1. To call upon Salford City Council to argue for a GMPF commitment to divest from fossil fuels over the next 2 years.

  2. To call upon Salford City Council to argue for GMPF to seek to reinvest into the just transition, where possible and in line with fiduciary duty.

  3. To ask Salford councillors to bring a similar motion to Labour Group and to the council, and invite a speaker from Labour Divests or local activists.

  4. To support the Labour Divests campaign, and ask councillors to join the Labour Divests and Facing a Fossil Free Future councillor networks.

  5. To send this motion to neighbouring branches, Salford TUC and the Salford Constituency Labour Parties.

This branch further resolves to call upon Salford City Council to:

  1. Accelerate the roll-out of Carbon Literacy training to all staff.

  2. Conduct Environmental Impact Assessments for any future significant decisions, policy changes or restructures and to publish those assessments in advance of decisions being taken.

  3. Support Salford City UNISON’s call for a Salford Climate Summit to take place in 2020, in advance of May’s local elections.