Why unions around the world are supporting the Global Week of Climate Action
Climate change is a present crisis and one that begs for an immediate response. Today, members of the global trade union movement are heeding that call.
During the Global Week of Climate Action, running from 20-27 September, many of UNI Global Union’s 20 million members will be standing shoulder to shoulder with students, families, and workers from across different industries. We will protest, march, and demand change from our employers and governments for a sustainable planet.
“We’ve got to hear the call of the youth," said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. "If the labor movement wants to be relevant in the future, if it wants to be the voice for young workers, we can’t sit this one out. I urge everyone to take a step over the next week to show support for climate justice. We must join this fight for our survival."
Trade unions have the collective global power to help shape what happens next. To demand the creation and development of sustainable jobs. To push for investment into renewable energy. To negotiate collective agreements that secure a just transition. For any of this to happen, workers must have a seat at the table.
The International Trade Union Confederation is calling on its 200 million members to take concrete steps to "Climate Proof Our Work." The TUC is calling for UK-wide participation in climate protests - including a 30 minute walkoff for the Climate Strike. In Germany, ver.di Chair Frank Bsirske has shown leadership in supporting the strike, and in Italy, so has the CGIL. UNI affiliate SETCa-BBTK members in Belgium havekicked off an effort to get employer Ageas Insurance Group to cut emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and zero emissions by 2050.
Unions in the United States, Colombia, Canada, New Zealand, and beyond are organizing to lower emissions. And globally, employees at some of the largest tech companies are collectively demanding climate accountability.
This climate activism within the union movement is growing, not least among our young unionists who recognise the urgency of this situation and are taking ownership of the response to it.
It’s a phrase we use often and one that union members understand all too well - there are no jobs on dead planet. This week is not symbolic. It’s not the time to talk about what we intend to do moving forward. This is the time for action, and UNI and its members are ready to take it.
Find out more about the Global Week of Climate Action and more about what UNI affiliates are doing and use #JustTransition as well as #ClimateAmbition when you post about your actions around the climate crisis.