Five ways to take part in COP26

UNISON will be playing a key role up to and during the global summit on climate change. But branches and members don’t need to go to Glasgow to take part

Green UNISON logo

The UN will host the 26th Climate Conference from 31 October to 12 November in Glasgow, with over 198 countries taking part. World leaders will make key decisions on how countries will commit to tackle the climate emergency.

Trade unions will also take part as ‘observers’ and use their collective voice to influence decisions, put forward demands for a ‘just transition’ to a low-carbon economy and hold governments to account.

UNISON is working hard to promote public services as key models of green transition and to ensure that the voices of public service workers are heard in Glasgow.

But the union’s branches and members don’t need to go to Glasgow to take part. For example, they can join the Global Day of Action For Climate Justice in their own cities or regions, on 6 November, and keep up to date digitally on what actions governments have agreed at the end of each day of COP26.

And there’s no need to wait. Here are five green things branches and members can do right now:

1. Support young people to have their say

Hold a solidarity activity on Friday 5 November to support young people’s voices on the impact of climate change on their futures.

The Scottish branch of the Greta Thunberg-inspired movement Fridays for Future (FFF) will be leading a ‘climate strike’ of schools, students and young people. Other UK branches of the FFF may also join in.

Anti-trade union laws mean that UNISON branches cannot take any solidarity strike action, but there are many ways you can show your support for the campaigners:

  • branches can take workplace lunchtime action to show solidarity with school students and young people on the day;
  • members can post solidarity photos on social media;
  • young members can tune into UNISON’s young members green webinar on 4 November.

2. Join the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice

UNISON is mobilising for the day of action, organised by the COP26 Coalition, on Saturday 6 November, when civil society and trade unions will assemble in cities and towns all over the UK.

Look out for UNISON and TUC regional information about the day. You can also find out where your nearest assembly point is at the COP26 Coalition website.

If you can’t join the Day of Action in person, then watch it live on YouTube from noon on the 6 November.

3. Hold branch Greening Public Services events

Run a lunchtime stall in the work canteen, or organise a film show or a talk. Perhaps invite a school or student climate striker, or a speaker from a nearby environmental campaigning organisation to come along. 

You could also run a green workplace training activity. Talk to your UNISON learning rep and look into running a lunchtime activity session for green reps and members who’d like to learn more.

4. Join the COP26 Peoples Summit debates 

As world leaders meet to discuss our planet’s future, the COP26 Coalition will host The People’s Summit for Climate Justice, from 7-10 November. There will be daily debates, events and webinars – both in person and online.

At the end of every day there will also be a live-stream commenting on what decisions were made at the COP26 conference.

You can sign up to virtual events here:

5. Be part of Green UNISON

  • Use hashtags #GreenUnison and #COP26 in Twitter and Facebook events, photographs and solidarity messages from your branch or as an individual;
  • Use UNISON’s Greening of Public services logo in your green work;
  • Join the Green UNISON network to keep up to date with UNISON Green news, events and resources to help with your branch green activities.