UNISON backs mobilisation for climate day of action

Government must deliver ‘a fair and just’ response to the climate emergency

UNISON’s national executive council (NEC) is fully supporting plans for UK trade unions to mobilise around the country as part of the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice on 6 November.

The event is one of many aimed at putting pressure on world leaders ahead of the United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP26), which is taking place in Glasgow between 31 October and 12 November – with the message that the time for talking is over and immediate action needed if governments are to successfully avert climate catastrophe.

Back in 2015, at the COP25 in Paris, countries agreed to determine action plans on how to meet their commitments to get to net zero by 2050.

So far, the evidence is that many governments have done too little too late, will struggle to meet net zero by 2050, and have not put forward convincing action plans or the funding to address the scale of the global problem.

The day of action is being organised by the COP26 Coalition, whose members include environment and development NGOs, trade unions, grassroots community campaigns, faith groups, youth groups, migrant and racial justice networks.

For trade unions, in particular, there are five key demands:

• countries must have ambitious climate plans to get to net-zero;

• countries must have just transition plans to protect and re-skill workers;

• countries must engage on plans with trade unions through social dialogue;

• countries must have human and labour rights included in climate plans;

• countries must provide climate finance to decarbonise the Global South.

The NEC statement, made when it met last week, said: “UNISON was proudly one of the first trade unions to support the work of the COP26 Coalition.

“UNISON will work side by side with the coalition to mobilise our members and to get workers voices heard – so that governments hear loudly and clearly our demand for a just transition and public ownership, to deliver a fair and just climate emergency response in solidarity with the Global South.”

On 6 November the following will take place:

  • a flagship national demonstration in Glasgow – UNISON Scotland will mobilise for this;
  • large-scale regional demonstrations in other major UK cities: London, Belfast, Cardiff, Newcastle, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Cambridge, Bristol and Brighton, and local demonstrations that members can join;
  • a global digital rally for climate justice broadcast at 7pm. The link will be available soon on the COP26 Coalition website.

Each UK demonstration will be timed to assemble at 12pm, start at 1pm and rally for speeches at 3pm

The coalition has set up a number of UK Day of Action hubs that you can join to find out what’s happening in your local and regional area, join planning meetings and get involved on the day.

UNISON regions, the STUC and TUC will also be providing key messages and information about joining the day of action, so look out for more information on your regional UNISON and trade union networks and websites.