TUC Congress voted today (12) to support composite motion 4 on climate change, which was moved by the BFAWU and seconded by CWU.
Sarah Woolley who moved the motion said that there was “irrefutable evidence that dangerous climate change is driving unprecedented changes to our environment”, giving examples of the recent floods in Texas and Sierra Leone and freak weather occurrences in Bangladesh and China.
She argued strongly for the privatised energy transmission agency should be made public, a move which was echoed by other unions supporting the motion.
Meanwhile Glenroy Watson from RMT urged members to include the link between the devastation wreaked by the effects of climate change and economic disparity.
Rail freight over road
Meanwhile, Cliff Holloway from Aslef suggested that a movement towards promoting rail freight over polluting lorries.
“Transport is responsible for a quarter of UK emissions,” he said. “This is a nation spending billions of pounds on new roads and airport runways, but not on rail.
“We need a railway that delivers for the environment and the people,” he added.
The motion indeed set out that a reduction in carbon dioxide levels must be the basis of the UK’s future transport policy in addition to building public transport capacity and moving more freight from road to rail.
PCS underscore green commitment to jobs
The myth that a green economy means fewer jobs needs to be quashed, argued PCS assistant general secretary Chris Baugh, speaking in support of the motion.
“We welcome this motion as it creates conditions for trade unions to move forward,” he said.
“This is a massive task in front of us we must put working class interests at the heart of a climate change transition,” he added.
“The obligation is clear to our members and future generations to ensure a smooth transition.”
The TUC will now work with the Labour party and others that advocate an end to the UK’s rigged energy system to bring it back into public ownership and democratic control as well as:
- advocate for a mass programme of retrofit and insulation of UK homes and public buildings;
- lobby to demand rights for workplace environmental reps;
- lobby for the establishment of a Just Transition strategy for those workers affected by the industrial changes necessary to develop a more environmentally sustainable future for all, and develop practical steps needed to achieve this as integral to industrial strategy;
- consult with all affiliates to seek input into the development of a cross sector industrial strategy that works towards delivering internationally agreed carbon emission reduction targets;
- investigate the long-term risks for pension funds investing in fossil fuels, promote divestment, and alternative reinvestment in the sustainable economy.