Toggle high contrast
Issue date
  • Unions call on business leaders and politicians to back national commission for a just transition to a net zero economy

Trade unions members across the UK will today (Friday) take part in workplace actions in support of the climate change protests taking place across the world.

Last week, the TUC’s Annual Congress called for urgent action to achieve a just transition to a net zero economy. And we agreed to support the global school strikes with workday campaign actions.

The Annual Congress also called for the establishment of a Just Transition National Commission. It would be cross-party and include business and trade union representatives. And it would take a united approach to the urgent changes needed to reach net zero without leaving any community behind, and with the creation of great new green jobs.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Trade unions congratulate school students for their climate crisis leadership. We are holding campaign actions in workplaces today to support them.

“Unions know we must act now. Last week our annual Congress agreed proposals for a just transition to a net zero economy.

“Workers in the energy sector and energy-intensive industries like steel, chemicals and ceramics must have a voice at the heart of plans to decarbonise our economy.

“We urgently need a national commission to plan the transition – and to make sure workers get a fair deal with great new green jobs.

 “We’re asking business leaders and the government to back the proposal so we can get the commission up and running as soon as possible.”

Workday campaign actions

The TUC is advising trade union members that they can support today’s climate action in their workplace by:

  • Joining an action near you: the TUC website has links to the full list of the student actions, as well as solidarity action organised by trade unions.
  • Organising a solidarity photo in your workplace or community: Please share your photo with the TUC. You’ll find all the information you need on our website, including posters you can download.
  • Supporting the student strikes on social media: Whatever you’re doing to show solidarity on the day, take photos and post them to Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #ClimateStrike. You can also share the TUC statement on a Just Transition.
  • Writing to your MP: Ask for their support for a Just Transition National Commission.
  • Requesting a workplace meeting: Ask your employer for a staff meeting on how to make your workplace greener.
Editors note

- Information on workday campaign actions: Information and resources can be found here: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/how-trade-unionists-can-support-youth-climate-strikes

- TUC support for school climate strikes: Our Congress voted last week to support the school strikers through workplace campaign actions – either with time agreed with their manager, or in their lunch break (note that the TUC is not calling on workers to take industrial action today). The full text of the motion can be found here: https://congress.tuc.org.uk/composite-02-climate-crisis-and-a-just-transition/#sthash.movJvvdY.dpbs

- More information on ‘just transition’: In July of this year, the TUC published the report A Just Transition to a Greener, Fairer Economy, which sets out the principles and priorities needed for a fair and fast transition in the economy to reach net zero. It calls for:

  1. A Just Transition Commission: a cross-party national commission including business, consumers and unions to plan a clear and funded path to a low-carbon economy.
  2. Workplace Transition Agreements: to put workers’ voices at the heart of transition plans in every workplace where change is required.
  3. Transition skills funding: so that every worker has access to training in the new skills needed for a low carbon economy, and guaranteed pathways to new work.
  4. Employment standard protections: to ensure new jobs in the low carbon economy are not of lower quality than jobs that are changed or superseded.

The full report is here: https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/A_Just_Transition_To_A_Greener_Fairer_Economy.pdf

- About the TUC: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.