Unions and environmentalists demand action on global warming

Published Date: 11 February 2008
Trade unionists and green campaigners have joined forces in central London in a bid to tackle climate change.
The Campaign Against Climate Change Union Conference brought together union leaders and employees from across the UK to discuss the challenges facing workers.

Topics for discussion at the conference, held at the University of London, included carbon trading, how to make the workplace greener and alternative energy.

Tony Kearns, deputy general secretary of the Communication Workers’ Union, said on Saturday: “The conference is a rallying cry for individual members to take the massive issue of climate change back to their branches across the UK.

“The trade union movement has always been a vehicle for pushing forward social change and that is what we are beginning.

“This is important to unions because if it affects the world, it affects people and workers. We need to look at different ways of living and therefore working.

“Capitalism is not suddenly going to wake up and decide we need to save the planet. We as unions need to force the change and this is just the beginning.

“The union movement will go from here and there will be more conferences when we will begin to ask questions of government and business. But today is predominantly about coming together and making a positive start.”

But Mr Kearns admitted that not all the unions are yet behind the climate change movement.

“Not all the trade unions are on board yet, of course. There are obvious issues for workers involved in industries such as nuclear power, oil and the production of cars and other vehicles. They will have to hold internal discussions about what their potential role might be.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2008, All Rights Reserved.

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