Manchester institutions have confirmed they are severing ties with Russian energy giant Gazprom as a trade union puts the firm’s contracts with public sector bodies in the spotlight.
Manchester City Council says it will be seeking an alternative energy source when its current contract runs out at the end of this month.
And The University of Manchester has said it is reviewing its deal in order to cut out the firm.
The move comes as the GMB union highlights the tens of millions of pounds the public sector has been ploughing into Gazprom.
It is urgently calling for a rethink on any further connections with the company due to its closeness to the Kremlin and Russian’s military invasion of Ukraine.
What involvement does Gazprom have in Greater Manchester?
According to public spending records Gazprom received some £25m from UK public sector organisations in 2021 alone.
The published logs include £1.6m paid by Manchester City Council.
In addition, major recent contracts won by Gazprom included a £3.6m deal to supply gas and electricity to The University of Manchester, the trade union said.
Gazprom Marketing and Trading Limited has operated in the UK since 1999. The company paid a total of £1.2 billion in dividends back to its parent firm over the last five years, company documents reveal.
Other contracts elsewhere in the country include ones with academy trusts to supply energy to schools and a huge contract with an NHS hospital trust in the North East.
What have the Manchester public sector organisations said?
Manchester City Council said that in the wake of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine it is looking to sever its ties with Gazprom.
A local authority spokesperson said: “We share the world’s horror at the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sense of solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
“Our contract with Gazprom Energy expires at the end of this month and we are looking at alternative gas providers.”
A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “This was an existing gas supply contract that we are now actively reviewing - and will not include Gazprom.”
What has the union said?
GMB is calling for an immediate ban on new contracts to Gazprom’s UK trading arm.
Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, said: “Serious questions need to be asked about how our schools and hospitals have become entangled in the energy supply chain that fuels Putin’s war machine.
“Ultimately, this spending is an indictment of the failure of UK energy policy to prioritise affordable and secure supply.
“It is morally unconscionable for contracts to still be awarded while missiles rain down on Ukrainian workers.
“There should be no new public sector contract awards to Gazprom, and we need an urgent Government review into whether alternative suppliers can take on existing contracts.”