Claire's blog

TUC motions mixed news on climate

A motion passed at Trades Union Congress carries the risk of moving backwards from last year's progress on climate policy (2017 climate motion).  

The Campaign against Climate Change is deeply concerned about elements of the GMB motion on 'Just transition and energy workers' voice'. 

Climate change is first and foremost a social justice issue. It will have consequences for every one of us, and hits the poorest first and hardest. The TUC therefore has the responsibility to reflect the voices of all its members in forming energy and climate policies. Future jobs in solar, wind and energy efficiency are crucial to our economy and these sectors have been badly affected by government cuts. The TUC must be a voice for them too, and call for urgent investment in climate jobs, not locking us into white elephant infrastructure such as new gas power stations. Energy unions of course have an important perspective but the suggestion that their views should be 'paramount and central' in determining TUC policy risks undermining strong climate action.

Jobs and Climate:Planning for a future which doesn't cost the earth

 

The conference "Jobs and Climate: Planning for a future which doesn't cost the earth" held on 10 March was a huge success. Over 200 people attended the event at the National Education Union Head Office.

The conference set out to challenge the false choice of good jobs versus the environment. Instead of settling for this, there is both an urgent need for action on climate change and a real opportunity for trade unionists to be at the forefront of campaigning for a transition. One which puts the needs of the planet, decent jobs and social justice at the top of the political agenda.

Links to videos below - more to be uploaded shortly

Full programme and workshop descriptions

The theme of the opening session, introduced by Suzanne Jeffery, chair of the Campaign against Climate Change was ‘Jobs versus the environment: challenging a false choice’. Professor Joanna Haigh, a leading scientist at the Grantham Institute, outlined the urgency of action now to get to zero carbon by 2050. Sarah Woolley, whose union, the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, moved the climate change motion at the TUC, spoke about the need for unions to prioritise this issue. The BFAWU are calling on their health and safety reps to take this up and are producing a newsletter to support this role. Asad Rehman from War on Want, spoke about the importance of seeing this as more than just an environmental issue, and the need for a vision of the future that challenged a system that has caused the problem. Barry Gardiner, Labour Party Shadow Secretary for Trade and Climate Change, concluded. He emphasised that action should not be just a top down approach. Communities engaged in the fight against fracking illustrated this and he gave a pledge that one of his first priorities in any incoming Labour Government would be to introduce a ban on shale gas extraction.

Keep the Guard on the Train

The Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union group fully supports the campaign by the RMT to protect the conductor role on Northern Trains. As the RMT say, this is a question of health and safety for passengers and those working on the railways. As the RMT General Secretary Mick Cash has said recently ahead of a recent strike over this issue, "As a result of the Arriva Rail North attitude the action goes ahead in defence of rail safety, access and security and the public will understand that we are fighting in the interests of rail passengers across the region. This dispute is about putting public safety before private profit and that is the message we will be sending out on the picket lines"

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