Open Letter To Unions: UKSCN Stands in Solidarity

Like all ecosocialists, RedGreen Labour supporters have been inspired by the growth of environmentalism amongst school students and the combative and witty protests that have been taking place up and down Britain – and internationally – over the last six months. Many of us will be marching in solidarity next Friday, June 21.

But the labour movement has now been thrown a welcome challenge by young people now – calling for more involvement for the Earth Stike action on September 29. We are thrilled that the Baker’s Union has already supported this call – lets see what the rest of us can do.

UKSCN understands the power of protest. We understand the power of global collective action, and the necessity for economic and civil disruption. We understand the necessity for real, immediate, radical systemic change.

But as it stands, our generation has no future. We, the next generation of workers, will face not only an increasingly insecure job market, zero hour contracts and falling living standards, but also the destructive impacts of the climate crisis. Climate breakdown will bring food shortages, a lack of resources, and will displace millions, and we know that this system will pass on these burdens to working people. This catastrophe will increase inequality on an extreme scale.

The great tradition of unions and workers striking is one UKSCN have already begun to follow. The youth have shown a radical consciousness and international solidarity, striking to make our voices heard, striking to remind those in power that we are worthy of a future, a world, a planet on which we can not only survive, but can live, and breathe, and work.

That future is being held back from all of us – youth strikers and workers alike. Those at the frontline of the UK’s political dramas have taken their farce ever further, entrenching themselves so deeply in their fantasy world that they are blind to the fact that the stage itself is crumbling. The longer they pretend that our future is a vague concept, rather than a very real and tangible deadline, then the longer they fail us and sell us out, day after day after day, as we count down those 11 years we’ve been given, before a chain of events is set off that will totally and inevitably destroy the industries that working communities rely on.

We, the youth strikers, thank you, workers and unions for the workers across history who went on strike, and struggled for the rights we have today. Now is the time to see through the lies that they feed us to keep us – workers and young people, the most powerful forces, the real creators of change in our society – apart.

Our struggle is your struggle. Your fight is our fight too. The rights of one are the rights of the many, and that equity – social and environmental – is what we will continue to fight for, until we get justice.

The same bosses who cut wages are polluting the air. The same bosses who tried to stop workers fighting for their rights are heating up the planet. The same bosses you fought in the past are the ones we will defeat together. You forced politicians to take action and so will we.

This is not only a show of our and a plea for your solidarity, but also a warning. We must totally decarbonise our economy and create a new, unionised, well paid workforce in green industries, or face the devastating impact on working communities that the climate crisis will bring.

So join us. Let us unite our struggles and work together. We ask you to pledge that you will:

  1. Invite us to your branch meetings to speak.

  2. Pass motions to end support for high carbon sectors, industries that send our generation’s future up in flames.

  3. Join us in calling for Green New Deal, making sure that the inevitable change is worker-led, and that not one job is lost but millions are created. Stand with us as we call for a just, worker-led transition from a self-destructive capitalist system into one that prioritises social equity and climate justice.

Let us demonstrate together, recognising that the struggles for climate and worker justice are one and the same. Take industrial action and we youth strikers will stand there with you in solidarity. And where unions mobilise, let us look to coordinate with the youth strikes, to strike together for our collective cause.

We know that the proponents of fossil fuel capitalism, those bosses who simultaneously exploit working people and the planet, will respond to one thing only – profit. Youth strikers have shown the power of collective action, now is the time to challenge those in power through a general strike. Because the struggle for climate justice is a workers’ struggle, the workers of today and the workers of the future must mobilise now to challenge the system that threatens us all.

Our call for a general strike will be heard by politicians because that is a testament to the power of workers. That power is our government’s greatest fear. So be a part of that general strike. On the 27th of September, we will reclaim the streets together. Not just for our economy, or for our politicians. We will fight for our jobs, for our families, for our traditions. Together, we will fight for the future.

In solidarity,

UK Student Climate Network.

A Green New Deal for the UK

The Labour Party’s John McDonnell on how a “Green Industrial Revolution” can advance a radical program against climate change, bring energy workers and the rest of the working class to our side, and win socialism in our time.

Jeremy Corbyn, my friend for over forty years and the next Prime Minister of the UK, pledged last year a “GI Bill” for energy workers, writes John McDonnell. Speaking at a conference I organized on alternative models of ownership, Jeremy said that:

Just as the US GI Bill gave education, housing and income support to every unemployed veteran returning from the Second World War, the next Labour Government will guarantee that all energy workers are offered retraining, a new job on equivalent terms and conditions covered by collective agreements, and fully supported in their housing and income needs through transition.

Continue reading “A Green New Deal for the UK”

Trade Unions and Climate Change: An Interview with Clara Paillard

Stephanie McDonagh and Anthony Killick from Critical Perspective interviewed Clara  about the role of trade unions in fighting climate change on video and also wrote these notes

Trade unions are an important (if not the most important) instrument of power for working people. As such, they have, since their inception, posed a threat to capital because when people organise collectively they have the power to negotiate working terms: better conditions, better pay, the weekend and holidays. Without union organisation we would have none of these things.

Continue reading “Trade Unions and Climate Change: An Interview with Clara Paillard”

Are energy trade unions ‘playing fast and loose’ with climate change?

On 15th January the Scottish Parliament debated a motion from Roseanna Cunningham SNP MSP, on securing a just transition to a carbon-neutral economy, writes Sam Mason. Remarkable in this is the seeming level of consensus in the Scottish Parliament to give meaning to the words of the Paris climate agreement.

Taking into account the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities through the establishment of a Just Transition Commission – a demand of the STUC. It’s not perfect but with Labour MSP Claudia Beamish getting an amendment in this debate to establish the Commission on a statutory basis it’s something the UK Labour Party should be looking to emulate.

Continue reading “Are energy trade unions ‘playing fast and loose’ with climate change?”