Unite general secretary Len McCluskey yesterday urged the Labour Party to debate a left MP's demand for public ownership of bloated gas and electricity companies.
Mr McCluskey described the parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM) headed by Luton North MP Kelvin Hopkins as "an important contribution" to discussions about Labour's future policies.
The Unite general secretary pointed out that public ownership of energy was not his union's official policy at the moment.
"But from a personal point of view I would say very openly that the taking back into public ownership of energy companies and the railways is something that would be widely welcomed by the general public.
"There will need to be a debate, and within that debate Unite would need to have clear guarantees on the defence of our energy industry members' jobs, terms and conditions."
Mr Hopkins's EDM 1160 has so far been signed by 15 MPs, including 13 Labour members, Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock and Respect MP George Galloway.
The motion calls for a publicly owned and publicly accountable National Energy Corporation to plan and serve Britain's vital long-term energy needs.
The new corporation would guarantee "secure and well-paid employment for all energy sector workers."
Labour MPs signed up so far are: Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley), Martin Caton (Gower), Katy Clark (North Ayrshire and Arran), Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North), John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead), Paul Flynn (Newport W), Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North), Ian Lavery (Wansbeck), John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington), Ian Mearns (Gateshead), Grahame Morris (Easington), Virendra Sharma (Ealing Southall) and Dennis Skinner (Bolsover).