UNISON's Stance on the Climate Change Crisis23/09/2019
School children across the world are taking strike action to call for urgent action on Climate Change. Their basic message is that they are being taught that without drastic action, the future is grim, but they can see that the drastic action as yet has not happened. That if therefore makes no sense to remain silent and voiceless until things are much worse. They need to speak up now, when there is still time to act, before they inherit, as adults, a much more dire situation.
UNISON A NATURAL ALLY
In this, we as public service trade unionists, must be their natural allies. UNISON exists to organise, represent and negotiate better terms and conditions in the workplace for public service workers and to defend the services to which we devote our lives and upon which the general public so rely.
We cannot confine ourselves to the workplace as we have to campaign politically to influence the funding and legislative background which affect us so much. To defend our environment, to protect the natural world and to ensure a sustainable future is an extension of this, yet an absolutely crucial one in the coming decades. Yet it is also in the vital interests of our members.
To manage the changes needed, we need more public services, we need trade unions fully involved in bringing the expertise of workers to make for a just and successful transition.
UNISON offers our support to those taking action today. Anti-trade union laws mean that UNISON branches cannot take strike action but many Branches have sought agreement that members can show support and there are dinner time rallies members may be attending. We understand Manchester Metropolitan University Branch and Salford UNISON Branch have worked with employers to enable members to support.
Paula Barker, our Regional Convenor, is showing support by speaking at a rally in Liverpool. Transport for Greater Manchester Branch has held a members meeting. Just a few examples.
MORE INFORMATION ON UNISON’S VIEW ON THIS
UNISON has called for strong action on climate change for many years. We passed the attached Motion at Annual Delegate Conference in 2019, supporting a Just Transition to protect jobs and redeploy workers into the new jobs of the future. UNISON has a web site link on this which includes actions Branches can take, access to resources and 5 key actions that UNISON Branches can take either now or in the future. Branches can discuss and invite speakers.
LABOUR CONFERENCE AND THE GREEN INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
Jeremy Corbyn proposed in Parliament that Britain declare a Climate Change Emergency. Their popular Manifesto, “For the Many Not the Few” in 2017 includes key commitments on climate change, likely to be strengthened at next week’s Conference.
Watch this space for further reports on the Conference as it develops. Labour is already committed, through their Industrial Strategy, to a mission based strategy to pull together all sections of society to deliver on this.
GREEN INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION NOT GREEN AUSTERITY
The trade unions are central to making a sustainable future possible. We have the proposals to make this about changing how society works, not attacking the living standards of working people. A Green Industrial Revolution, not Green Austerity, with wealthy companies and individuals with the largest carbon foot print, left too precious to pressure and left alone whilst the rest of us pay for yet another crisis they have caused.
We need new, sustainable energy sources, not energy poverty. We need new energy jobs, not workers thrown on the scrap heap. Unions can ensure the Labour party makes this agenda voter friendly as we work with and through the people, not do this to the people. Without public support, this will not happen. We can help deliver changes that will be effective and popular, from building new energy efficient homes, to cheaper and better public transport.