Unite Union protestors outside the London Business Design Centre

Protestors target corporate ‘greed’ outside Islington energy summit

Unite the Union protestors in Islington made their voices heard outside a meeting of top business executives.

The ‘Cost of Greed’ protest called for nationalisation of the energy sector.

Last month’s demonstration on 20 June was planned to coincide with the Future of Utilities Summit hosted at Islington’s London Business Design Centre.

Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite said: “There is growing anger about profiteering by Big Energy.

“Taking energy into public ownership would end the scandal of energy company profiteering and burgeoning household debt.”

A Unite report in February found energy companies made £45 billion in profits in 2022 and that under public ownership, households could have saved £1,800 over this period.

CAUGHT UNAWARE: Workers atop a hydraulic platform at the London Business Design Centre were seemingly unaware the protest was due to take place.

Claire Penet, a Unite organiser who took part in the protest said: “Whilst executives at the summit are celebrating their successes, it was up to us to come out and highlight the inequality that corporate profiteering is causing in our communities.

“People can’t heat their homes or pay their bills, they’re having to make a horrible choice between heating and eating.”

Fellow protestor Willie Howard added: “I know households where the energy prices have genuinely pushed them into poverty.

“Where once they were the working poor, just above breadline, now they’re below it.”

The summit is an annual conference of senior figures in the UK energy and water sectors.

According to its website, representatives from British Gas and the National Grid, among others, were due to attend this year.

Steve Cawling, who had travelled from Peterborough to join the protestors in Islington, explained why utilities needed public ownership.

Cawling said: “It’s about having democratic control over some of the most key aspects of life.”

Furthermore, companies running essential services for profit had neglected the fears of those facing hardships this coming winter, he added.

Office for National Statistics research in April found half of UK adults cut household fuel consumption amid rising energy expenses.

British Gas did not respond when approached for comment on the protest and National Grid declined to make a statement.

Video and image credits: Sam Leech

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