Environment policy agreed at PCS Annual Delegate Conference (ADC) 2017
At PCS annual delegate conference 23-25 May four important motions were passed relating to the union's environmental/green agenda:
A41 calling on conference to adopt and promote the new PCS pamphlet on just transition and energy democracy (see separate page). Other elements are to ensure that climate change demands are included in industrial strategies; to continue to press for formal consultation mechanisms on sustainability issues within the Civil Service Forum including to lobby for staturtory rights for Workplace Environmental Reps (WERs); to work with the Trade Unions for Energy Democracy and other energy democracy groups such as Switched on London to promote energy transition based on public ownership and democratic control; to promote international solidarity on issues such as climate refugees.
A42 called for "arms to renewables" noting the devasting impact of the arms trade and need to urgently tackle climate change by promoting renewable energy and one million climate jobs. As the delegate from Defra said - there is an alternative, turning Trident into wind turbines!
A43 reffirmed the union's opposition to nuclear energy, the need to promote energy democracy and fight for green energy. Speaking for the NEC, Martin Cavanagh said investment in nuclear should be put into renewables, along with research into storage technology and support for decentralised energy systems.
A44 moved by Aviation Group President Tahir Latif, highlighted the failiure of government to address the problem of diesel cars and air pollution, and the need for a clear plan to move to electric vehicles run on renewable energy in the shortest possible time-frame.
Motion A64 was passed and instructs the NEC to:
1. Continue to demand formal consultation mechanisms on sustainability issues with civil service trade unions both at national and local levels, and to lobby for statutory time off for workplace environmental reps and workplace environmental audits;
2. Develop integrated environmental policy/strategy across different groups with common interests such as the transport sector (DfT and Aviation) and Environmental Sector (DECC, EA, Efra);
3. Work through the Trade Union Sustainable Development Advisory Committee (TUSDAC) to raise the profile of the One Million Climate jobs campaign with TUC affiliates and ensure that sustainability issues remain at the heart of the TUC's agenda;
4. Work in partnership with organisations such as Friends of the Earth and This Changes Everything (UK) to develop and promote the People's Demands project, and support the 40th Anniversary of the Lucas Plan event in the autumn;
5. Work with other trade unions including international affiliates to develop and promote a plan for a just transition for workers and their communities based on protection of workers as we transform from a fossil fuel economy to one based on renewable energy;
6. Engage in the Labour Party policy review process, and in particular lobby for a sub-group of the Economic Advisory Committee to discuss just transition as part of a new renewable energy economy.
On Thursday (21 May) conference agreed the NEC motion A115 to continue to promote the PCS green agenda and to increase the number of reps taking up sustainability issues in workplaces. It also reconfirmed the commitment to campaign for statutory rights for workplace environmental reps and reinstatement of formal central and departmental level consultation structures across the civil service, related bodies and the Commercial Sector.
Aviation Group President, Tahir Latif moved motion A116 in support of the fossil fuel divestment campaign and calling for investment in a unionised renewable industry with support for workers to ensure a just transition into new jobs. This is a fast growing campaign led by universities and students.
Another new policy area for PCS's green agenda is agriculture and waste, motion A117 moved by Nick Turnball, CPS Yorks and Humberside branch. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture including crop and animal production is the world's second largest GHG producer after the energy sector, a result of intensive farming practices including rearing of livestock and poultry as well as agriculture.
The motion recognised the role of labour in climate change policy and need to link labour rights of the agricultural workforce to issues of sustainability and corporate driven agriculture. There are over 450 million women and men at the heart of the food production system but who are among the most socially vulnerable, least organised into trade unions, and employed under the poorest health, safety and environmental conditions. Therefore supporting workers' struggles in the industry is key to changing our food system.
Finally motion A52 on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and environment/climate change was also agreed. This affirms PCS's position to campaign against all provisions in TTIP and support actions to challenge TTIP and other trade agreements. See also international pages of website for PCS briefing on TTIP.