The TUC agreed to support "a move to net zero that offers a fair deal for workers"
The TUC is holding its annual Congress is meeting in Brighton from 18-20 October. On the first day of the Congress, delegates voted for a motion that called for a ‘just transition’ to a UK free from carbon emissions.
In backing the motion, the TUC has agreed to support “a move to net zero that offers a fair deal for workers”, “where green jobs are secure, sustainable, good jobs delivered through collective bargaining and where those workers and communities whose industries are threatened by the changes to develop a low-carbon world have jobs protected, through decarbonisation of existing industries in consultation with workers in those industries and their skills fully utilised in the sustainable industries of the future.”
According to the motion passed by the TUC, there is a need for “state intervention, investment and support to protect jobs, incomes, skills and communities.”
The motion went on to argue for decarbonisation – with protections for jobs – in a number of key industries, including steel and the transport sector. The motion argued, “A just transition in transportation requires ambitious objectives from government to support the upskilling and reskilling of workers, as well as sustainable employment opportunities that supports the transport sector transitioning to a zero-carbon future.”
Alongside this, the motion acknowledged concerns concerns about what a different path towards net zero could mean for trade unions and workers’ jobs. The motion read, “The UK government is promising up to 480,000 skilled green jobs by 2030 and Congress welcomes the TUC’s involvement in the green jobs delivery group. However, there is not nearly enough detail about what those jobs are.
“Congress is also concerned that some companies are using the transition into green industries to discard national agreements and remove collective bargaining.”
In light of this, the motion called for the TUC General Council to ensure that any just transition strategy endorsed by the trade union movement must set out: “realistic estimates” for numbers of green jobs; “the skills, education and training” required for new green jobs, and guarantees for health and safety practices.
In proposing the motion, Gail Cartmail, from Unite, said the it would see the trade union movement working to “ensure a future built on secure, well paid green jobs”, adding, “we must demand a comprehensive climate strategy – from retrofitting of homes to take energy back into public hands, properly funding services and building a green manufacturing sector”.
Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward
Left Foot Forward’s trade union coverage is supported by the Barry Amiel & Norman Melburn Trust
Image credit: Quinn Dombowski – Creative Commons
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