Members of the NUJ who support the aims of the young global climate strikers, who will demand an end to the age of fossil fuels at demonstrations on Friday 20 September, are being encouraged to take part in action co-ordinated by trade unionists.
A year ago, Greta Thunberg sparked the climate strike phenomenon with her first solo protest. The cause has now been taken up by millions of young people across the globe.
While many journalists will be at the forefront of reporting the action taken by schoolchildren, others who support their aims can show their support at lunchtime gatherings, assemblies before or after work and at special meetings.
The international trade union movement strongly supports the Paris Agreement which aims to respond to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The TUC’s paper, A just transition to a greener, fairer economy, says it is crucial that workers play a role in supporting a green industrial strategy and the best way to do this is to work with unions. It said: “Our statement calls for companies and organisations moving towards a lower carbon model to put in place transition agreements – agreed with unions – that cover issues such as numbers of workers employed, pay, job security, skills and equal opportunities.”
The union’s national executive council (NEC) passed the following motion in July:
This NEC notes:
1) Reports that school pupils organising the next school students’ strike over climate change on 20 September want trade unionists to join them wherever possible – a request made concrete at the Campaign Against Climate Change meeting in central London on 20 June.
2) That one of the two motions that the lecturers’ UCU union is sending to this year’s TUC Congress is calling on the TUC to back the call for a 30-minute general stoppage on 20 September in order to back the school students’ strike.
This NEC believes:
1) The school students’ strikes, along with the activities of Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace and other organisations, have helped raise the whole issue of climate change to the top of the agenda.
2) That trade unionists should make every effort to become part of the movement calling on governments, business industry and society as a whole to do much more to prevent climate catastrophe.
This NEC resolves to:
1) Call on the membership who support the strategy to support the 20 September school students’ strike by taking the most effective activity, preferably alongside those taken by other local trade unionists. This could include actions from lunchtime gatherings, assemblies before or after work and special meetings.