Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner called on trade unions to back the school climate change strikes on 20 September at the TUC congress in Brighton today (10 September).
Moving motion 2 on climate change and a just transition he also demanded that workers are up-skilled or re-skilled with no loss of pay or undermining of terms and conditions in the transition to a green economy.
Turner said, “Congress, how proud can we be of our children, knowing it’s their future at stake – taking to the streets, just as they did in 2010 in the fight against austerity, to demand the urgent action that is desperately needed.
“And as trade unionists, as socialists seeking that better, fairer world, it’s our duty to stand proudly alongside them in this fight.
“That is why this composite includes the demand that we take whatever solidarity action we can on 20 September, the day of their next school strike. If we don’t, we’ll be seen as irrelevant – not as allies in their fight and not an integral part of their future.”
Turner added that trade unionists are at the centre of the debate on the transition to low carbon practices in the energy, automotive, steel, ceramics and construction industries.
“And in that debate we’ll ensure our members are up-skilled or re-skilled and transitioned to new, sustainable, local jobs with no loss of pay or undermining of terms and conditions. Supporting them, their families and wider communities,” he said.
Turner reminded Congress that the stakes when it comes to the climate emergency are high.
“Our country is facing a choice that – in this and so many areas – will have global ramifications,” Turner said.
“It was Jeremy Corbyn who moved in Parliament that we recognise we are living in a climate emergency and it’s the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister that represents our best chance at securing the industrial and political transformation we need with the collective voice of working people at its heart.
“The alternative is too dire to think about.”