Just transition for food workers call
Unite AGS Diana Holland: food safety and security is a basic human right
At TUC Congress in Brighton on Wednesday (October 19), Unite called for a just transition for UK food industry workers impacted by efforts in the sector to reduce carbon emissions.
Supporting composite three in favour of declaring a food emergency, Unite noted that last year Congress welcomed the government’s National Food Strategy.
However Unite said the strategy, which primarily considers health and the environment, ‘barely mentions workers’.
Addressing Congress, Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said, “(The National Food Strategy is) nearly 300 pages, and nothing about the people who grow process, stack, pick, cook, serve, sell and transport our food. About their pay and conditions, the dangers they face, and above all the inequality between capital and labour that is so stark in the food industry.”
Holland said it was clear that a UK food strategy also cannot be discussed without addressing the climate crisis.
Diana Holland added, “Food safety and security is a basic human right that is being denied. We need action to secure safe healthy food, produced sustainably, and food workers treated fairly and decently.
“The meat and dairy industries are major causes of greenhouse gases. But they employ 175,000 workers in the UK alone. So we have to put into practice the global trade union principles of a ‘just transition’. There must be a transition to jobs that are decent, secure and sustainable, a transition led by workers and with no worker left behind.”
By Ryan Fletcher
Pic by Mark Thomas