*15 Sept update: It’s #GreenUNISON week! #FridaysForFuture #EndFossilFuels global demos have been happening around the world. #ClimateStrike. Do join Saturday’s demonstration in Edinburgh if possible. Also, see today’s General Secretary’s Blog:
“Climate change is real, destructive and is an absolute emergency,” says Christina McAnea.
“Climate change policy in public services is inextricably linked to policies on public health, the cost-of-living crisis, education and skills and almost every area of public policy.
“We know that there are no jobs on a dead planet, but we also know that if the transition to net zero is unjust, it is the most disadvantaged workers and their families who will suffer. Across the globe, we risk creating sacrificial zones if we don’t work together in a global effort.”
*12 Sept update: UNISON UK: Top 5 ways to help planet Earth this week, incl sign petition to tax oil and gas giants that fuel climate change – and tweet your support for UNISON’s green workplace campaigning. (or WhatsApp option, via top 5 ways link)
It’s nearly Green UNISON Week and for all our futures we want to take action about global boiling and climate justice.
Including by supporting this #EndFossilFuels family friendly global action march in Edinburgh on Saturday 16 Sept.
The good news is there’s lots you can do.
Read on for ten things you can do and watch out for updates here and from UNISON Scotland Green Network.
Strike Solidarity – Living Wages on a Living Planet
But of course, many branches are or soon will be involved in strike action, whether in further education colleges or higher education, or in nearly 2000 schools after a historic massive vote by schools staff, winning a mandate in 24 councils. They are striking to boost pay for local government workers across Scotland. Our museum members in Glasgow are being balloted for strike action, and our Scottish Water members have voted to take action over pay.
Quite rightly, supporting our striking members is a top priority and it’s not possible to do everything, so we understand if Green UNISON Week passes you by this year.
However, anyone who can make the links between climate justice and economic and social justice is encouraged to do so – as we’ve long been doing, including during last year’s waves of strike action, and at COP26 with the youth climate strikers.
Trade unions want to see Living Wages on a Living Planet. (See the Oct 22 statement on the Just Transition Partnership website on climate justice, the cost of living and industrial disputes.) So, whatever you’re doing in the coming weeks, please do support UNISON and other unions’ strike action and follow @unisonscot on Twitter (X) and Facebook for updates.
#EndFossilFuels – Just Transition – Green Workplace action
You’ll not be surprised that it’s been confirmed the world has just seen the hottest three months on record.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said: “Our planet has just endured the hottest summer on record. Climate breakdown has begun.
“Scientists have long warned what our fossil fuel addiction will unleash. Surging temperatures demand a surge in action.“
UNISON members the length and breadth of the UK are taking action during Green UNISON Week, demanding action on climate justice, joining demonstrations with organisations like Fridays for Future – the youth climate strikers – and raising awareness.
Why get active on climate issues? UNISON members are very concerned about climate change. Chris Burrow, education convenor and welfare officer for UNISON’s Coventry City branch said:
“For me, the threat of possible extinction is alarming, and it’s that fear that motivates. Fear, and the sheer injustice that it will be our members who will bear the brunt of the worst effects of climate change. We had a taster of this during COVID – failure to prepare adequately for an epidemic meant it was in the poor and disadvantaged where the death toll was the highest.”
Here’s how you can get involved!
10 things you can do
- Get involved with your branch on Green UNISON Week activities (film screening/stall/branch discussion/join a march) or future green workplace action. There’s lots that can be done. Contact the branch Green/Environment rep. Branches who don’t yet have one might like to use this downloadable poster and leaflet, here and here respectively to advertise the role. And all interested members are welcome in UNISON Scotland’s Green Network.
- Join with others in UNISON, or just go yourself, on the family friendly global action climate march in Edinburgh on Sat 16 Sept, one of many in the UK and globally. Assembling at The Mound in Edinburgh at 11:00 AM. (Fridays for Future, the organisation inspired by climate activist Greta Thunberg’s school strikes, has called for worldwide support and demonstrations etc., on 15 September so look out for FFF campaigning in Scotland. We can send solidarity or invite FFS speakers. See also the Fight Fossil Fuels global mobilisation event on 15 and 17 September. Their campaign started in New York and is now world-wide, demanding a just transition to be Fast, Fair and Forever (another FFF!).)
- Join the UNISON webinar for members on Sustainable healthcare – why greening the NHS matters for us all. This will take place on Monday 25 September, 12:30-1:30pm. You can register now here. (Fuller description on this page.)
- Join the UNISON webinar for members on How to have conversations about climate change that matter – Larger Us. The webinar is on Thursday 21 September, 12:30-1:30pm. You can find out more and register here. (Fuller description on this page.)
- Find out about training on climate issues and workplace action. More updates when we have them, but there are great resources on Climate Hazards and Resilience in the Workplace here. Climate change is a health and safety issue for the planet. The link includes the handbook and workbook and videos of the launch and a training session on using the materials, chaired by STUC Deputy General Secretary Dave Moxham: https://www.adaptationscotland.org.uk/how-adapt/tools-and-resources/climate-risks-workplace-protecting-workers-changing-climate
- Get involved in divestment campaigning, something UNISON has been doing for years, working to have pension funds divest from fossil fuels. More details from UK Divest. Including this ‘Is your council fuelling the climate crisis?’ webinar on 25 Sept.
- Find out what’s being organised by UNISON at UK level, incl the webinars above, with a range of info/resources, and you can sign up to their Green Network too. Details here.
- Check out a huge range of other upcoming climate activities in Scotland via the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) Climate Fringe You can add yours there or organise something for a Scottish climate action week in late Sept/early Oct, or in the run up to COP28, the UN climate talks in Dubai, UAE, in December.
- Support the SCCS coalition Loss and Damage campaigning, including this briefing from SCCS member Christian Aid. It covers Make Polluters Pay day on 23 Sept and info on asking your MSP to support a parliamentary motion on Loss and Damage. The motion recognises the historical emissions of industrialised countries and the responsibility they have to provide appropriate redress.
- Stay involved beyond Green UNISON Week. Find out more from and about a range of resources and organisations we work with near the bottom of this earlier link about preparing for Green UNISON Week. https://unison-scotland.org/greenunison-week-is-15-to-22-sept-for-branch-activities-on-the-climate-emergency/ And check for future updates on our Green Workplace page.