Green UNISON Week – 23 Sept to 1 October 2022

UPDATED 21 SEPT, incl new briefing & info below on General Secretary’s blog, 29 Sept webinar, Women’s Environmental Network workshops and more:

Once again we are organising a Green UNISON Week in September to focus on green workplace activities and supporting action on climate change.

It is also an opportunity to show solidarity with the school and youth climate strikers in the Fridays For Future movement.

The week runs from Friday 23 Sept, when FFF are holding a global climate strike day, to 1 October.

See here what Fridays for Future Scotland are planning in Edinburgh on 23 Sept #PeopleNotProfit #TheKidsAreNotAlright :

The week coincides with a number of actions and similar weeks of action here and around the world.

General Secretary Christina McAnea said: “The climate crisis could not be more real and is being felt across the globe. Green UNISON Week is our chance to focus in and highlight these issues…

“We’re encouraging branches to run a week of activities for members and most importantly to engage with employers on how they can reduce their own carbon footprints and ensure their employers have a plan to green their workplaces completely. It’s never been more important!”

Christina pointed out in her 20 September blog There Is No Future on a Dead Planet: “Last year, UNISON supported the UK and global trade union movement at COP26 in Glasgow. Important commitments were made, but sadly it looks like the current government will remove regulations rather than implement vital new ones.

“Putting Jacob Rees-Mogg in charge of the energy brief is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. We’re already hearing opposition to onshore wind and any expansion of solar power, with excuses that ‘We don’t have enough space’. Aggressive new plans for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, and pledges to lift the fracking ban, prove that this government can’t be trusted with the environment.”

Branches can check ideas for activities along with info and resources and logos about the week on the UNISON UK website and link up with colleagues in the UNISON Scotland Green Network (contact details here & next meeting is 11.30am-1pm, online, Thurs 13 Oct) for information on working together and making plans for any local action in workplaces and or linking up with the climate strikers where feasible. Here is our briefing for Green UNISON Week, with some suggested ideas, as well as the key events noted here and a couple of others, including some COP27 events and info on a UNISON South Lanarkshire pensions divestment meeting on Tuesday 27 Sept 12.30-1.30pm. Other UNISON branches and interested members, particularly those in the Strathclyde area, are very welcome to join.

The week is an opportunity for our green environment reps and branches to mobilise members and organise and put forward green workplace demands as well as linking with communities to strengthen the movement for a Just Transition to a zero-carbon future. We can celebrate, discuss and share how the union is working to green public services.

Building on the work around COP26 in Glasgow last year, national delegate conference in June agreed a range of actions to push forward our campaigns to decarbonise public services, draw up negotiating demands to take to employers and to recruit green environment officers in every branch.

The cost of living crisis that is impacting on members now is one part of the climate crisis that threatens the future of everyone. It has the same roots in the reliance on fossil fuels and an unsustainable economic system that puts profits for the rich ahead of the health of people and the environment.

Depute Convener Stephen Smellie called in the latest issue of Scotland in UNISON for all branches to make plans for the week, saying: “We want action to make our workplaces greener, our economy more sustainable and to call out those politicians that have brought us the cost of living crisis and chaos of climate change.”

Webinar and workshops

Branches and members can:

Encourage attendance at our online Green UNISON webinar on Thursday 29 September from 12:30pm to 1:30pm. 

The panel includes Kate Metcalf, from the Women’s Environmental Network (WEN), to speak about their work and why climate change is a women’s issue and Graham Petersen, from the Greener Jobs Alliance, who has done a huge amount of work on Green Jobs and who recently authored the Wales TUC Greener Workplaces Tool Kit.

Find out more and register here.

Also, do join the Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) workshops specially put together for UNISON members. As part of the UNISON Green Week offer, the Women’s Environmental Network has kindly agreed to adapt their national workshops to offer to run a specially adapted one-hour workshop for members. There will be three chances to attend – two to take place during lunchtimes and with one evening session for those with non-standard or non-flexible lunchbreaks. Click here to find out more and to book into a workshop (places are limited so book early).

Further details of activities will be added here and on our Green Network Facebook page, which has links to events organised by some of the groups we work with campaigning on climate change.  You can also find the recently launched new Climate Hazards and Resilience in the Workplace materials and resources here, as one option for taking action at work. Branches are encouraged to put suitable events onto the Climate Fringe Festival calendar to add to their September calendar of events – and beyond. The site is built by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, of which UNISON is a member.

Use hashtags #GreenUnison in Twitter and Facebook events, photographs and solidarity messages from your branch or as an individual.

UNISON Scotland Green Network Briefing on Green UNISON Week, as mentioned above.


Wed 28 Sept. 7.30pm. Augustine United Church, Edinburgh. 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1ELHybrid. In person and online option. Plan it for the Planet. A public meeting to tackle the climate emergency and energy prices. Edinburgh Climate Coalition. Info/book here.