Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner highlighted the importance of tackling climate change, and the need to see it as a class issue, on the penultimate day of the Labour Party Conference on Tuesday (September 24).
Speaking in support of two composites, he told conference that the labour movement recognises that “climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the future of humanity”.
“We also recognise that it’s about us,” he added. “About the here and now. It’s not just a fight for our kids, as proud as we are of them leading the charge and striking for a future.
“Climate change is a class issue. And as trade unionists we’re at the centre of this debate inside our party, in our workplaces and communities.”
Turner thanked shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow chancellor John McDonnell and the rest of the shadow cabinet team for working on what he called a “detailed plan and day-one strategy to support and implement a green industrial revolution”.
He went on to highlight that Unite’s members build cars and aeroplanes, make steel, cement and ceramics, refine fuel and generate the UK’s energy.
“Our members drive buses and lorries, build our homes, crew aircraft and keep our airports running – all in the front the line of the climate change debate,” he said, and added that they all demand that “working people and our communities are at the forefront of a just transition in the debate about the green new deal”.
“We share our planet, breath our air and care about our future,” Turner noted. “And we recognise that climate change demands a new economy, public ownership, environmental reparations including the free transfer of green technology to the developing world, and intervention and an integrated industrial strategy to underpin the social and industrial transformation necessary to secure a sustainable future for our planet.”
Urging conference to support the composites, Turner concluded, “Above all, it demands an interventionist, socialist, Labour Government and comrades it’s our role, our duty, to ensure that we deliver one.”