8 March 2021

Support the Global Climate Strike on 19 March

PCS is supporting the Global Climate Strike on 19 March organised by the Fridays for Future movement. Tom Youngman, PCS Efra Bristol green rep, and green forum advisory group member, explains that while our members cannot protest collectively there are ways they can support the strikers

This is an important event to help mobilise towards the United Nations climate talks in November in Glasgow to ensure there are #nomoremptypromises for young people, workers and communities.

At the PCS sustainability meeting in February, I led a discussion with Bristol school climate striker, Aden on the importance of trade unions in supporting the climate strikes.

Aden came and spoke to the Efra members on the day of the global climate strike on 20 September 2019, which helped to bring members together and then go as a group to support the strike in Bristol.  Fortunately, the location of the office was very close to where the strikers were gathering so it was easy to get there and some members used their volunteer allowance to attend. 

A strong message from Aden was the overwhelming support of the community, and that it was helpful to speak to Efra and Environment Agency members (located in the same building). Working with trade unions was also great on a practical level on how to organise, get things made like placards, and with social media.  The teachers were also very supportive.

In terms of hopes for the coming year, in addition to the global climate strike, we need to mobilise around key events such as the G7 in St Ives, Cornwall from 11-13 June, as part of a lead-up to the climate talks at the end of the year.  Climate strikers and trade unions can collaborate by helping to share resources.  In Covid lockdown, it can be very isolating and is a good way to stop people feeling disconnected.

While we cannot protest collectively, there are ways to support and PCS can talk about the important of COP and consider going to Glasgow if permittable. In Efra Bristol, reps kept constantly telling people about the strike, putting up posters. We need to do the same to help mobilise around the COP, and also reach out to local activists. In our workplaces we can organise Covid-safe actions even if our homes are now our workplaces by taking pictures in solidarity and circulating these. 

But we also need to reach out to young people in our workplaces. For example, by dropping an email to apprentices and making sure they know about the union’s activities and how they can get involved. And talk to health and safety reps to make the links between healthy and safe workplaces and climate change. 

There are plenty of ways to get involved such as by passing the model motion which can be adapted for PCS branches and trades councils; coming along to the PCS Sustainability Forums on the 4th Tuesday of every month at 6pm; joining the COP26 Coalition Trade Union Caucus meetings on the 3rd Tuesday of the month.  Email green@pcs.org.uk to find out more.