UNISON has recently committed to raising awareness of the union’s climate emergency work, the green transformation of public services and support of the union’s green activists and environmental reps in the workplace.
Some regions have green networks and are already doing great work, and a series of three webinar events is a chance for them to feel part of UNISON’s green efforts.
The union is committed to publishing a report on how UK public services and workplaces can meet net zero emissions targets, together with the level of new investment required to achieve this.
The findings of that report will be used to assist service groups with employer engagement, and campaigning for investment that does not lead to negative consequences for public service workers and users.
Other moves that the union is undertaking include:
- engaging with councils on their wider responsibilities for the environment, and support them to expand sustainable and affordable public transport;
- promoting the UNISON report at Glasgow Cop26 to promote public ownership and intervention to secure a shift towards a sustainable economy and society;
- working with the TUC on the government’s new green jobs taskforce, launched in November 2020, which will support the delivery of two million green jobs as we move to a high-skill, low carbon economy;
- work with the Trade Union Sustainable Development Advisory Committee and through union alliances to ensure a proper green energy policy and a just transition for all workers in energy itself and other energy-intensive industries;
- establish a national UNISON green reps network and encourage regional green networks and events, including an annual green week, promoting the greening of all workplaces.
UNISON intends to lead the way by working towards the greening of all UNISON workplaces and ensuring that all its activities are environmentally responsible and in keeping with the union’s green policies.
The union will also produce online green information seminars for green reps, plus fresh workplace bargaining guides to help branches engage local employers.
The series of webinars opens on Thursday 22 April – World Earth Day – with a look at trade unions and the just transition and objectives at the November Glasgow UN COP26 event.
Speakers include general secretary Christina McAnea, STUC deputy general secretary David Moxham, TUC TUSDAC chair Sue Ferns, Guillaume Durivaux of EPSU and Sandra Van Niekerk of Public Service International.
On Wednesday 5 May, the event will examine the green transformation of public services, looking at the key green initiatives happening in UK public services, with a panel including UNISON national energy officer Matt Lay and Ruth Davies, the chair of the union’s water, environment and transport service group.
Finally, on Thursday 13 May, the webinar will explore green bargaining and negotiating in the workplace – an opportunity for UNISON green reps and activists to share experiences and good practice on using greening the workplace tool kits, green facility time and green organising.
The panel will include Scottish NEC member Stephen Smellie and UNISON local government officer Sarah Pearce.