12 September 2021

PCS calls for urgent action on climate emergency

PCS backed demands for a publicly-funded government plan to fully address the climate emergency, including a just transition for workers in high-carbon industries, but opposed calls at TUC Congress for new nuclear power plants to be built.

Speaking to TUC Congress composite motion 2 on the climate emergency, defending jobs and a just transition, PCS Assistant General Secretary John Moloney made the case for a green alternative. He spoke against calls for the construction of new nuclear plants and nuclear forming part of the UK’s future energy supply mix. 

Speaking to oppose the first motion heard by this year’s Congress this afternoon, he said we need action now and that should be a pro-public service approach and not one that involved building new nuclear power plants.

“There are many good elements in the motion and we agree with the central theme of the motion that workers must be at the heart of the fight for climate justice,” he said.

“Any transition needs to be transformative.”

Tony Kearns of the CWU opposed the motion saying the detail of the motion, including building nuclear power stations, was not the answer.

“With this motion we’re embedding the current approach and not delivering a just transition,” he said.

Vicky Blake from UCU also spoke against the motion and warned that nuclear power was “fundamentally unsafe.”

Grave threat

The motion, which was carried, recognised the climate emergency as the gravest threat currently facing humanity. Speakers highlighted how the UK’s plan to address the climate crisis still lacks real detail.

Kevin Buchanan of GMB proposed the motion and said: “The need to reduced emissions while remaining true to our labour values is the greatest challenge of our time.

“We cannot abandon decisions to the market or politicians who do not have our best interests at heart.”

Neil Hope-Collins of Prospect, who seconded it, said that a just transition (which ensures that the substantial benefits of a green economy transition are shared widely, while also supporting those who stand to lose economically), must be at the heart of the TUC’s strategy ahead of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26).

Steve Turner of Unite underlined the fact that climate change is a global crisis and requires urgent action and “is the challenge of our lifetime.”

He said the government lacked a strategy on just transition.

“We have to be confident we can win a green new deal,” he said.

Congress agreed that that a detailed long-term plan for net-zero to support good quality green jobs in the UK is needed.

Delegates described COP26 as a key opportunity to agree a viable strategy for addressing the climate emergency. But the success of such a strategy depends on having a skilled and diverse workforce to deliver it.

The open sessions of Congress are being streamed live on the TUC website.

We are posting regular updates in the news section of this website under the tag TUC Congress, and on social media with the hashtag #TUC2021