Trade unions call for a low carbon Scotland

NOTE TO PICTURE DESKS: Photocall 12.30pm Monday. Details below.

Trade unions are today (Monday 18 April) calling for strong action on climate change, with policies to support workers affected in the switch to a low carbon economy.

On ‘Climate Day’, ahead of a Holyrood election online debate, trade unions say there must be a ‘Just Transition’, ensuring support for workers whose jobs are phased out as Scotland goes low carbon.

Speakers from the STUC, PCS and UNISON will call at a lunchtime fringe meeting at the Scottish TUC’s Annual Congress for this fair switch to a low carbon economy. The meeting is organised by UNISON and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland.

UNISON Depute Convener Stephen Smellie said: “Climate change is a key issue for trade unions as the world seeks to stop the planet heating above looming dangerous limits.

“We urgently need policies in place to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celcius, preferably 1.5 degrees, in order to halt catastrophic climate change.”

A motion for debate at the Congress in Dundee this afternoon (Monday) notes that the deal agreed by world leaders in Paris in December did not include sufficient enforceable policy actions by governments to achieve this.

Stephen Boyd, STUC Assistant Secretary, said: “Addressing climate change can deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits to Scotland.

“Planning for a just transition means we involve all parts of society, sharing these benefits and supporting those whose jobs are affected, with education, training, skills and workforce development also crucial to delivering effective action.”

Cheryl Gedling, Acting-Vice President of PCS, said: “Our union was part of the official UK trade union delegation to the Paris climate talks, lobbying for support for a just transition and we supported the massive climate, justice and jobs marches in London and Edinburgh in December.

“Through initiatives such as the one million climate jobs campaign backed by PCS, it shows we can both cut carbon emissions and create jobs by investing in renewable energy, such as building wind turbines, in retrofitting homes to make them more energy efficient, and running an integrated transport network on clean fuel.”

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland Board Member Mike Robinson said: “Tonight’s Climate Day election online debate will see the five political parties represented in the current Scottish Parliament questioned on their climate policies and plans for the next five years.

“The Paris agreement reinforced the fact that a safe, affordable future demands a more urgent and concerted effort to make homes warmer, transport greener and heat and electricity production renewable. And we need all politicians to be more accountable for the long term impact of decisions affecting all our lives.”


Notes to Editors and Picture Editors

Photocall: A number of trade union leaders, including the above speakers, will attend for a photocall at 12.30pm, meeting in Conference Room 2, City Chambers (also described as Conf Room 2, Caird Hall if any confusion), Dundee on Monday 18 April.

The fringe meeting is organised by UNISON Scotland and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland. Details are here

Climate change and trade union action: Motion 11 to be debated at STUC Congress on Monday afternoon. Copied below for information.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland will host an online election debate from 7-8.30pm on Climate Day (Monday 18th April) with the five parties currently represented at Holyrood. The debate will be livestreamed and will be hosted by journalist David Torrance. 

11. Climate Change and Trade Union Action

“That this Congress notes the agreement at the COP21 summit in Paris

in December that the world must take steps to limit global warming to 2

degrees and preferably 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, in order

to halt catastrophic climate change. However, we also note the failure of

the summit to agree enforceable actions on governments to ensure this

is achieved.

“Congress notes the successes in Scotland in setting ambitious carbon

reduction targets, the wide consensus amongst most political parties for

action, as well as the broad based civic campaigns bringing together

environmentalist, faith, community, student and trade union groups in

support of this. However, we recognise that more needs to be done to

achieve the targets.

“Congress commends the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland manifesto

‘Securing a low carbon Scotland for 2020 and beyond’. In particular, we

support the demands for a Warm Homes Act and for investment in

infrastructure to be directed towards a low carbon economy.

“Congress calls on the Scottish Government to draw up a transition plan

that will ensure climate justice for those workers in the carbon industries

whose jobs will be phased out in a transition to a low carbon economy.”

Mover: South Lanarkshire & East Kilbride TUC