Our vision for a green recovery after coronavirus

Published date
Building the recovery from Coronavirus is a once in a generation challenge. But it is also an opportunity that must be seized.

That’s why we’re launching a campaign for a green recovery and a just transition.

We must take the urgent action needed to build a greener and fairer economy in Wales. One that protects jobs, our health and the planet. 

Earlier this year, we saw the devastating impact of climate change on our own communities. Storm Dennis showed us the damage and disruption that extreme weather can wreak. Climate and nature breakdown will increase threats such as extreme weather and new viruses. And harmful air pollution from emissions is already a public and occupational health emergency.

We must use this moment to take decisive action to address the climate and nature crisis. We must go further and faster. Otherwise, we’ll be facing an even bigger crisis than coronavirus. And if the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that we can come together for a common purpose to protect the wellbeing of our families and communities.

And it’s coming together that gives us the power to change things.

Workers must have a central voice

With around 400,000 members, the trade union movement in Wales supports the fight to protect our planet for future generations. And we stand up for those workers whose jobs are at risk if the post-Covid recovery and transition to a net-zero economy isn’t a just one. 

The international trade union movement has called for a ‘just transition’ to a greener economy. One where workers have a central voice in planning the transition, so it is done ‘with’ them not ‘to’ them. And where new jobs that are created are just as good as any that are lost in terms of pay, skills, pensions and trade union recognition.

Following union pressure, the concept of “a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs” was included in the Paris climate change agreement in 2015.

We need a just transition to avoid the mistakes of the past, when whole communities were left behind by industrial change.

How do we ‘build back better’ and create a just transition?

In Wales, we can work together to build back better. Trade unions, employers and government working together in social partnership will be the catalyst for achieving a greener, fairer recovery and a pathway to a net-zero Wales.

Welsh trade unions welcome action from the Welsh Government to tackle the climate emergency and promote fair work.

We support calls for Wales to be given further flexibility in its powers to borrow to invest in its climate priorities. We need more funding for greener travel, cleaner energy and sustainable homes. And it is vital that we can support our energy-intensive industries to help them transition to lower-carbon models.

But Wales will not be able to deliver this transition without a significant increase in funding, investment and policy changes from the UK government.

That’s why we are launching a campaign for a green recovery and a just transition – to build back better. Read our new green recovery report today.

The trade union response to the climate crisis

Already, trade unions are leading the change in our workplaces.

Across Wales, reps are working with their members to make their workplaces more sustainable. They are finding ways to cut carbon and reduce waste, campaigning for cleaner air and creating green spaces to support nature.

And they are working to get members training for the new skills that will be needed as part of the transition.

And of course, everyday, unions are fighting for equality, fairness and a better quality of life for all. For fair work, with jobs that offer good pay, terms and conditions, job security and safer workplaces.

Join our campaign for a green recovery and a just transition, for a better world for us all.

Sign up for our email updates  – we’ll be sharing information and new resources on ways to make your workplace more sustainable