Global: Unions call for a ‘decent’ green economy

With only three months left to achieve a deal to fight climate change at the Copenhagen climate summit, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has launched a new website on climate change and set out its key policy demands.

The global union body wants to ensure that an “ambitious” climate change agreement is strengthened by “Just Transition” policies, moving workers from polluting jobs to decent jobs in a green economy. This will involve “greening” existing industries and creating news “green jobs” in clean energy, “cleantech” and recycling and related industries.

ITUC general secretary Guy Ryder said: “The ITUC and its members believe that addressing global climate change is critical to the economic, social and environmental interest of all peoples of the world, and that mitigation actions must be fairly shared and distributed between and within countries”. 

He added: “The International community needs now to realise that a just transition towards a low-carbon economy is possible, and can make climate action a driver for sustainable economic growth and social progress. We need to transform the economy; we therefore call for a fair process aimed at transforming every economic sector into a sustainable one.” 

ITUC says the international trade union movement “will step up its lobbying efforts aimed at achieving an ambitious outcome in Copenhagen and preserving references to ‘Just Transition’ in the current UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) negotiating text.” The agreement will be considered at the December 2009 UNFCCC meeting in Copenhagen.

Unions will also call on governments to add specific references to the need for consultation with trade unions and other stakeholders, promoting skills development, social protection and economic diversification policies and sustainable industrial policies.
The global union confederation says the new ITUC climate change online resources are intended “to support trade unions in their efforts to press for the shift towards a more sustainable society and a ‘green economy’ that sustains decent jobs and livelihoods for all.”

According to ITUC’s Guy Ryder: “An ambitious response to climate change needs the broadest possible support. It is time now to build a strong consensus around climate policies, and this will only be possible if fairness and social justice are mainstreamed right throughout the decision-making process, including in international agreements.”

International industrial union bodies IMF, International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM), European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF) and European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers’ Federation (EMCEF) are to meet later this year to agree a common platform for the climate change conference.

The ‘Cutting Emissions, Transforming Jobs’ meeting will take place in Germany on October 14 and 15.

IMF says: “The meeting will be structured in panel discussions around the main themes of environmental protection, sustainable development, sectoral concerns, green jobs and just transition. It will then discuss the unifying principles and materials to be prepared for future work.”

 The ITUC policy demands can be found on the new climate change webpages.

 * Full ITUC policy paper [pdf].

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.