“Neither our planet, nor our jobs:” Turkish union bolsters efforts to fight climate change


“Neither our planet, nor our jobs:” Turkish union bolsters efforts to fight climate change

Turkish UNI Commerce affiliate Tez Koop-İş is ramping up its fight for climate justice and is encouraging other unions to do the same.  

This week, the union held the first international trade union gathering on climate change in Turkey to help mobilize the country’s labor movement to push for a just transition, ensuring the protections for the planet, employment, and workers’ rights.

“We will keep working on climate crisis. We will inform and mobilize our members through union trainings on climate change” said Haydar Ozdemiroglu, the president of Tez Koop-Is.

In addition to worker mobilization, the union also urged Turkish parliament to immediately sign Paris Climate Agreement.

Participants at the meeting in Ankara heard from labor leaders as well as academics, engineers, biologist, geologists, economists, environmental activists, lawyers, representatives of the ILO Turkey Office and the EU Delegation in Turkey.

The Deputy General Secretary of IndustriALL, Kemal Ozkan and the Coordinator of UNI Commerce, Onur Bakir pointed out the role of global union federations in the fight for climate justice and highlighted the importance of a just transition that aims protection of the earth and climate justice on the one hand and the protection and promotion of employment on the other. The DGB from Germany joined the discussion through a video on the transition process of German mining industry.

“A just transition that will not push workers to make a choice between jobs and the planet,” said UNI’s Bakir.

UNI Global Union’s resolution on climate, adopted in the 5th World Congress, was also quoted in the final declaration as a part of the future action plan of the union.

Tez Koop-Is represents tens of thousands of commerce workers -mainly employed by multinational hypermarkets -in Turkey.