Climate emergency – a model motion

New Year 2020 is a critical time to be taking the campaign for climate action into our workplaces.  Below we’ve pasted a model motion that can be used or adapted in your own workplace context.  (You can also download a PDF here and a Word version here.  If you have already raised a similar motion in your workplace we’d love to hear about it and would be pleased to share the text (with permission) so that others can build on your experience.  We think there’s a particular case for developing clear policies in education, from school through to university, and would be really interested to get feedback on particular demands and actions for the education sector.  Please send feedback to triple.e.scot@gmail.com 

Draft model motion 

This (branch/region/committee/trades council/union/conference) notes the urgent need for action on the climate emergency, both in response to existing negative impacts such as extreme weather, fires, droughts, floods and loss of habitat and species; and to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible climate damage which people increasingly realise the world is on course for, after the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

We recognise that big business, the military and the richest individuals are responsible for the vast majority of climate change, yet the global working class and poor are disproportionately at risk. A just transition (that protects the lives, livelihoods and rights of the poor and disadvantaged) to a decarbonised economy is not only right, but is the only way the movement against climate chaos will secure the mass support needed to win, and avoid a rich minority protecting themselves at the expense of the planet and the vast majority of people.

We congratulate the school students striking around the world for real climate action and welcome the decision of the TUC to support them and call for a solidarity stoppage. We note that many workers did strike on 20 September 2019, despite Britain’s repressive legislation, by campaigning to pressure employers not to apply sanctions to climate strikers.

We note that there is discussion about the possibility of making Friday 1 May 2020, traditionally International Workers’ Day, also a climate strike. We note that the UN ‘COP’ climate change conferences have become a major focus for campaigners, that COP26 will be taking place in Glasgow from 9-20 November 2020, and that many organisations are already making plans.

We resolve to:

  1. Publicly state our support and solidarity with the climate strikers and the wider movement for rapid and effective climate action
  2. Invite climate strikers to speak at our meeting
  3. Educate our members about the climate emergency
  4. Give practical support to the climate strikes, without adults taking it over. This will include asking schools and local authorities to commit to imposing no sanctions against striking students, promoting the strikes on social media, encouraging members to attend, taking our flags or banner if agreed with the strikers. If requested, it could include co-hosting events, providing sound systems, staging and stewards, using our public liability insurance, help with press releases or police liaison.
  5. Support workers joining climate strikes and maximise member involvement
  6. Work with other local labour movement and environmental organisations to arrange discussions locally and within workplaces about practically how workers and unions can learn from 20 September, join climate strikes or show solidarity
  7. Promote through the labour and climate movements the idea of making 1 May 2020 a climate strike as well as International Workers’ Day
  8. Organise to make COP26 in Glasgow, 9-20 November 2020, a major focus of campaigning for effective action on the climate emergency
  9. Call on employers and local authorities to declare a climate emergency and involve workers and communities in planning, implementing and monitoring to rapidly achieve zero carbon emissions, including ending investments in fossil fuels
  10. Call on employers to recognise union green/environmental reps and give them work time for their activities
  11. Create climate action groups at workplace level and within union structures
  12. Look for opportunities for unions, communities and the climate movement to work together, for example for improved housing and public transport
  13. Call on unions and the TUC to back the climate strikes, call and build action
  14. Call on our union to carry out a major exercise to understand the potential positive and negative impacts of the climate crisis and responses to it on employment
  15. Campaign for a legal right to strike and to repeal all legislation that makes it harder to strike over climate
  16. Discuss what climate-related demands to include in collective bargaining, including ones which could be the basis of a lawful “trade dispute” under current legislation and to call on our union to produce guidance on this
  17. Ensure that unions are visible as relevant and useful organisations within the climate movement and that participants are encouraged to join a union
  18. Demand massive public investment in the jobs required to address climate emergency, including massive improvements in renewable energy, housing and public transport
  19. Send this motion to our local trades union council, up through our union structure, and to local SNP, Labour Party and Green Party branches

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Climate Strike – Friday 29th November

Friday 29th November is the date of the next round of Youth Climate Strikes. There are demonstrations in towns and cities throughout Scotland – you can find the details on the SYCS website and share the events on social media from their Facebook page. The September strikes saw the development of workplace solidarity with a range of actions from lunchtime meetings to walkouts. November 29th is an opportunity to build on this. UCU members working in a number of Scottish universities will be on strike over pay and pensions on the 29th and the UCU is encouraging their members to go from their picket lines to join the climate protests. This is a great opportunity for workers in other unions to show practical solidarity with the UCU and the school students.

Check out our previous post on arguing for solidarity action in the workplace.

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Global climate action

Brilliant turn out for the marches in Scotland and around the world.  Twenty thousand in Edinburgh, at least ten thousand  in Glasgow and locations all over the country.  Please send in photos, videos and reports to triple.e.scot@gmail.com and we’ll add to this post.

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Some more photos from the Edinburgh March

Sept 20 Climate Strike

Mike from Glasgow writes:

Upwards of 10,000 of us marched from Kelvingrove to George Square today – an indistinguishable mix of school students, workers, trade unions, college students, college lecturers, families with young children, environmentalists, socialists – inspired by the Indian summer day, the leadership of the school strikers, and the common cause.

“What did your headteacher say to you about the strike?” I asked a group of kids from Moodiesburn. “He told us not to go, so we came anyway – sod them.”

As we passed the bottom end of Scott Street we got a big and colourful welcome from a throng of Art School students , ramped up the steep slope above us, protesting loudly for Climate Justice.

From behind us the loud rhythms of the Sambayamba Youth Street-Band – fronted by five trombones, the band leader playing his trombone while walking backwards – kept us going and dancing.

Placards abounded – diverse in their messages yet all under one banner, as it were.

“We’d be in school if you listened”

“Mourning the loss of our future” (In bold black against a white ground)

“Fuck the Government”

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty”

“The seas are rising, so are we”

“Scrap Trident, fund climate”

“Climate refugees welcome”

“Solidarity with indigenous protectors”

“End domestic flights now”

“Don’t streak, strike”

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light”

“Why did you let it happen, papa?”

And YES! “Climate change is a class issue”

Hoisted highest of all, the Palestinian flag.

This was a magnificent action, providing a solid base across the globe, that we must collectively build on without delay.

Strike on September 20th

There are marches and rallies all around Scotland – check out the one nearest to you on the Scottish Youth Climate Strike website.   All around Scotland workers are taking action in support of the student strikers.  Often this is taking the form of walkouts and workplace meetings.  We’d love to receive a report of action in your workplace that we could collate and share as part of building momentum for the movement.  Email triple.e.scot@gmail.com

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Support the global strike for climate

Edinburgh City Council (having already told school students in the city that they can only walk out to take action over climate once in a year) is now saying that they can’t march down Princes Street on 20th September.  This from a council that has happily closed down streets around the city in the last few days to facilitate a multi million dollar movie.  No questions asked about the huge climate footprint of that operation.

School students around the world have done a magnificent job in putting collective action on the agenda.  Contact the council, email your councillors, get your workmates and/or union branch to send a message to the council that their declaration of a climate emergency rings hollow unless they give full support to the school students who are leading the way.

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TUC supports 20th September action

The Trades Union Congress meeting today has supported the 20th September action – we reproduce a statement from the Campaign Against Climate Change here:

TUC conference has today unanimously passed a motion to support the school student Global Climate Strike on 20th September and has called on TUC affiliate Unions to organise a 30 minute work day campaign action to coincide with the school students strike on 20th September.

We congratulate the delegates at TUC who have voted to recognise the significance of the Global School Students strikes, initiated by Greta Thunberg and the need for adults and especially the Trade Union movement to stand alongside young people, to ensure they do not stand alone in fighting for the urgent action needed to tackle climate change and ecological crisis and to deliver Climate Justice.

We ask all Trade Unions to now turn words into action and get organised to build on the fantastic examples of Trade Union solidarity action already in place for 20th September. 

The 20th September is already set to be the biggest turnout of working people many organised through their Trade Unions in the UK uniting in solidarity with young people. But it can be even bigger and we still have two weeks to deliver solidarity action to put hundreds of thousands of Trade Unionist onto the streets.

We would like to salute the young people who have led the action and also the UCU NEC members who put forward the motion to TUC conference calling for a 30 minute stoppage. They have been bold enough to recognise the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for Trade Unionists to not only respond to the call for Trade Unions to join them but to be bold in their actions and demands. The support for the UCU statement with over 2000 Trade Unionists and over 100 organisations backing the call for solidarity and a 30 minute workplace stoppage on 20th has also shown us the appetitive that there is for climate action within the Trade Union movement.

We ask all Trade Unionists to do everything they can to match the boldness required of us by the urgency of the Climate Crisis. We have just under two weeks now to build maximum solidarity on the 20th. 

This is just the beginning and we will need to continue the work of building solidarity, fighting to ensure our unions have the most progressive policies which match what the science tells us that we need to do and to continue to demand the Climate Jobs and a Green New Deal which can deliver the Just Transformation that we need.

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Climate Strike 20th September

It’s just over a week now until the Climate Strike called for September 20th.  Check out the Scottish Youth Climate Strike website for a link to details of actions all round Scotland.  The Edinburgh Demo starts from the Meadows at 11am.

This video from REEL News gives some updates on solidarity action.  You might also like to check out our model resolution and a video guide to raising climate issues in your workplace.