date: 2 July 2012
embargo: For immediate release
The presence of green union reps is having a significant impact upon UK workplaces - encouraging a growing number of employers to adapt cost-saving energy efficiency measures and persuading colleagues to become more environmentally-aware at work, a conference at the TUC is hearing today (Monday).
Delegates gathering at Congress House are being presented with the results of the TUC 2012 green workplaces survey of 1,200 green reps which shows just how unions are making a difference.
The survey suggests that unions are having many more green-themed conversations with employers than they were when the survey was first carried out three years ago. Unions have also upped significantly the amount of environmentally-friendly activity going on at work.
The most popular methods reported by unions for bringing about greener workplaces included providing loans for cycling equipment so employees can leave their cars at home (35 per cent of survey respondents reported this), replacing old computer screens with more energy efficient ones (33 per cent), and encouraging staff to switch off lights, computers and other electrical equipment before going home (26 per cent).
But this year's survey also pointed to an alarming degree of inaction from employers with a quarter (24 per cent) having no plans to replace energy inefficient display computer screens, 18 per cent not doing anything about overnight or weekend use of electricity and 17 per cent failing to reduce emissions from lights being left on out of hours.
Bu the case of the Magor Brewery near Brigend illustrates the huge business benefits that can result when unions get involved in attempts to green the workplace. Unite reps at the South Wales brewery - which brews Stella Artois, Becks and Boddingtons - have helped company management save more than £2 million in reduced energy bills. As a result of the union-backed energy guardians project, the company has seen water usage drop 46 per cent, electricity usage fall 49 per cent and heating bills have been slashed by 23 per cent.
Encouraging a greater use of public transport and the use of energy-efficient vehicles is key to improving the green credentials of any workplace, says the TUC. The 2012 survey found that just under a third of employers (30 per cent) provided secure cycle storage as well as shower facilities, 22 per cent encouraged the use of tele/video conferencing and 20 per cent were providing loans to enable staff to buy travel season tickets.
The survey - Green unions at work 2012 - contains many examples of where unions are making a huge contribution to the carbon footprints of their workplaces including:
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Despite the tough economic times and concerns about jobs, unions are committed to doing what they can to encourage greener ways of working and hasten the move to a green economy.
'Unions are perfectly placed to make a real difference at work when it comes to issues of a green variety - both to managers and to their colleagues. Whether it's simply getting colleagues to turn out the lights before going home or persuading the management of their organisations to switch to greener energy suppliers, unions are showing that they are driving the move towards more environmentally-friendly attitudes at work.'
The conference will also feature sessions about the ETUC green workplaces campaign - allowing unions to share ideas and experiences with the aim of greening the entire continent.
The survey results are published in Green unions at work which is available from TUC Publications.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The TUC's 2012 green workplaces survey was carried out by the Labour Research Department earlier this year. A total of 1,208 responses from TUC-affiliated unions were received, representing public and private sector workplaces across the UK.
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews
- Congress 2012 will be held at the Brighton Centre from Sunday 9 September to Wednesday 12 September. Free media passes can be obtained by visiting www.tuc.org.uk/mediacredentials and completing an online form. Applications must be in by noon on Wednesday 29 August. Any received later than that will be processed in Brighton and will cost £50. Please note that the Brighton Centre requires 60 days' notice for telephone line facilities. Details available on the link above.
Press release (1,100 words) issued 2 Jul 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-21166-f0.cfm
printed 20 June 2013 at 12:32 hrs by 18.104.22.168