Involving trade unions in climate action to build a just transition

A guide to a ‘just transition’ to a low carbon economy is published by the European Trade Union Confederation on May 15.

The 48 page document ‘Involving trade unions in climate action to build a just transition’ contains

  • Recommendations for economic diversification and industrial policy, skills, social protection and governance for a socially just transition
  • Information on how trade unions can and have been engaged in shaping national climate action
  • Examples of innovative projects that can inspire a more just transition

Key recommendations include

  • Promote economic diversification in regions and industries most affected by the transition
  • Negotiate agreements at sectoral and company level to map the future evolution of skills needs and the creation of sectoral skills councils
  • Establish dialogue with all relevant stakeholders and regional authorities to identify and manage the social impacts of climate policies
  • Promote the establishment of adequate social protection systems
  • Unions and workers should assess the risks linked to ‘stranded assets’

The guide shows that up to half of trade unions have NOT been consulted on sectoral decarbonisation strategies, but over 75% were consulted on long-term decarbonisation strategies for 2050.

Trade unions in the UK, Greece and Malta were not consulted on 2050 strategies.

In France the National Council for Ecological Transition is chaired by the Minister for Ecology and brings together NGOs, unions, employers, experts, regional authorities and Parliamentarians to give advice on draft environment and energy legislation.

The report is being launched at a conference today in Brussels with trade union leaders, the European Commission, MEPs, industry including Eurelectric and WindEurope, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational training (Cedefop) and NGOs.

Montserrat Mir, ETUC Confederal Secretary said “Climate action will profoundly reshape the economy and the labour market – with both good and potentially damaging consequences. Those changes have to be managed to ensure a socially just transition.

The ETUC’s new guide is about the policies, initiatives and governance involved in a just transition. At the end of the day our key message is that there is no just transition without workers participation. Imposed solutions do not work, we need dialogue to make climate progress.”

A copy of the guide is available in English and will be available in the coming weeks in French, German, Italian, Spanish and Czech.

Programme of the Conference