Fossil fuel pension protest in Bury (Fossil Free Greater Manchester)
Unison members and other campaigners are in Bury today outside a meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. They want the Mayor and Council Leaders to call on their Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) to get rid of its climate-damaging investments in Shell and other fossil fuel companies and to join the rest of GM in a commitment to net zero by 2038.
Campaigners say that other Combined Authorities such as West Yorkshire have called for divestment so there is no reason why GMCA should not do the same.
“We want the Mayor and all the GM Council Leaders to get their act together and push for GMPF to make a strong climate commitment for the sake of all its members. This means urgently planning to end investment in oil and gas” said campaign member Maggie Walker.
Unison member Sam O’Brien adds “Unison members are very concerned about climate change. Just this week we’ve seen homes flooded in England and Scotland as another storm wreaks devastation, not to mention the lives lost to climate breakdown around the world. There is powerful local action that councillors can take. Councillors need to agree to stop investing in Shell and BP which are still exploring new oil fields.”
Campaigners point to data released just on Tuesday showing that the GM fund has by far the largest investments in fossil fuel companies. Figures show that the GM Fund has 6% of its £29 billion invested in fossil fuel companies while nearby Lancashire and Cheshire East funds have only 0.3% and 1.6% respectively.
“How can I have faith that the GM pension fund is looking to the future of its members when it appears not to see the urgency of climate action,” said Joan Bennett, a GMPF pensioner. “GMPF has a net zero target of 2050. That’s far too late. We need to see an urgent plan for getting rid of their investments in Shell, BP and Total which aren’t aligned with the Paris climate accords. Earlier this year the Church of England decided to divest from fossil fuels. Trying to persuade fossil fuel companies to change their climate destroying activities is wasting valuable time and money. The GMCA and GMPF need to wake up to the climate emergency”
Contacts for further information: Fossil Free Greater Manchester. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for editors
The protest is planned for 8:30am – 10:00am, Bury Town Hall – contact us for photographs.
Fossil Free Greater Manchester (FFGM) is a coalition of organisations and individuals calling upon the GMPF to:
- Make the fund fossil free within the next 2 years.
- Immediately move all investments out of the most polluting fossil fuels (coal, tar sands and fracking).
- Develop a strategy to invest in local climate solutions in Greater Manchester.
GMPF is the UK’s largest local authority pension fund with over 300,000 members, £29.3bn (March 2022) in assets and over £1.3bn directly invested in fossil fuel companies that engage in coal mining and oil and gas extraction.
Unison, the local government trade union, has had a policy to call on local government pension funds to divest from fossil fuel companies since 2017 https://www.unison.org.uk/news/press-release/2018/01/unison-launches-campaign-divest-pensions-carbon/