UNION

Protest to call for return of private water to public hands

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04 Jul 2019
Press Office

Press Office

GMB, the union for water industry workers, will today hold a protest at the Environment Department calling for the water industry to be put back in public hands.

England’s water services were privatised under Margaret Thatcher’s Government thirty years ago this week (6 July 1989).

As part of GMB’s Take Back the Tap campaign, water industry workers will congregate at the office of Environment Secretary Michael Gove this lunchtime.
 

13:00pm
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
Seacole Building,
2 Marsham Street,
Westminster,
London.
SW1P 4DF


Earlier this week GMB revealed the nine privatised water company shareholders made more than £6.8 billion in just five years.

And just last week Southern Water was fined £126m in penalties for breaching its statutory duties on sewage treatment, including the “deliberate misreporting” of data, and the dumping of untreated effluent into beaches, rivers and streams.

Meanwhile, as millions face life under a hosepipe ban, GMB figures show 2.4 billion litres of water is wasted through leaks every single day in England. 

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Last month, GMB figures showed the CEOs of the nine privatised water company trousered a whopping £68 million in salary, bonuses, pensions and other benefits over the past six years.

While shareholders pocketed these eye-watering sums, consumer water bills in England and Wales have increased by 40% above inflation since privatisation in 1989 according to a report by the National Audit Office.

Stuart Fegan, GMB National Officer said:

“The privatisation of England’s water industry is a Thatcherite experiment that has utterly failed our country.

“Thirty years on, it’s high time to take back the tap and put our water industry back in public hands.

This is a natural monopoly - the public, workers and our water stocks will be better off if we take back control of our water industry from the profiteers.

Stuart Fegan, GMB National Officer

“Bills up 40% above inflation, billions of litres of water lost in leaks as families face hose pipe bans and all the while shareholders are trousering billions in profit.

“This is a natural monopoly - the public, workers and our water stocks will be better off if we take back control of our water industry from the profiteers.”

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