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Unite conference: Debates over Trident jobs and nuclear power


Two of the most contentious debates at the conference concerned nuclear energy and Trident nuclear missiles.

Unite voted to support the campaign for a million climate jobs as part of a move towards a more “balanced” energy sector.

Conference also voted to support a statement saying nuclear energy needs to be part of that balance—although many delegates argued otherwise.

“Nuclear power is uneconomic and unsafe,” Russell Cartwright, a research assistant from Unite’s London and Eastern region, told Socialist Worker.

“Unite should be at the forefront of developing alternative technologies that can create more jobs than nuclear as well as a safer environment.”

Unite formally opposes the use of Trident nuclear weapons. But the union’s policy calls for opposing cuts to Trident facilities until alternative jobs are in place.

Many activists were concerned that this was holding the union back from any real campaigning on the issue.

The union should be “campaigning for a better use of the billions spent on weapons of mass destruction”, said Dave Elson, Unite convenor at Rolls Royce in Chichester.


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Tue 3 Jul 2012, 17:54 BST
Issue No. 2310
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