[2021] C02 The climate emergency, defending jobs and a just transition

carried motion
Carried motion

Received from: ,

Motions 9 and amendment, 10 and amendment, 12 and 15

Congress recognises:

i. The climate emergency is the gravest threat currently facing humanity.

ii. The UK’s plan to address the climate crisis still lacks real detail, especially in key areas like heat decarbonisation.

iii. Energy is at a crossroads. The energy sector is an important source of unionised jobs, but current policies are failing workers as jobs are offshored and terms and conditions attacked.

Congress notes:

a. 800,000 UK manufacturing jobs have been lost in the last 15 years and the number of renewable energy jobs is falling.

b. Most of the UK’s nuclear plants will be shut down by 2030 with a disappointing lack of progress in securing the next generation of nuclear power; and the future of the world’s best-developed gas distribution network is under threat.

c. The green industries of the future, like offshore wind and electric vehicles, will require a reliable source of domestically produced steel.

d. It is nonsensical to continue importing dirty steels or renewables components from countries with appalling human rights records on the other side of the world while our fabrication yards lie empty.

Congress further notes:

1. The Green Jobs Task Force report and agrees that a detailed long-term plan for net-zero to support good quality green jobs in the UK is needed.

2. The upcoming COP26 meeting is a key opportunity to agree a viable strategy for addressing the climate emergency. But the success of such a strategy depends on having a skilled and diverse workforce to deliver it. The strategy for addressing the climate emergency must include a just transition for workers in high-carbon sectors. No worker should be left behind.

3. Ensuring that goods and services procured by the public sector are produced in the UK will further benefit efforts to tackle the climate crisis, as shorter supply chains mean fewer carbon emissions. Using more carbon-efficient infrastructure such as rail freight can have an even more significant impact on emissions.

4. The Green Jobs Task Force report recognises that strong procurement rules and guidelines can be a way to stipulate that companies receiving public money must operate a high standard of workers’ rights and employment conditions, and recognise a trade union.

Congress believes:

i. Tackling global warming requires a co-ordinated international response – not the unilateral tearing down of our industries.

ii. The government must work to protect British goods and jobs, in order to ensure there is fair and high-quality employment for all.

iii. We need a balanced energy mix that includes renewables, nuclear, and the flexibility currently provided by gas.

iv. Net-zero means we need to grow Britain’s steel industry, not shrink it, and in doing so create new jobs and opportunities in parts of the country that most need them.

v. Our steel industry has to decarbonise, in a responsible way. The future of British steelmaking is supporting green jobs at the core of a low-carbon economy. Steelworkers must get all the support they need to adapt to new circumstances and acquire new skills where jobs change or evolve.

Congress firmly believes:

i. Workers and unions must be at the heart of the broader fight for climate justice and the decision-making process to deliver a just transition that protects jobs and high-carbon communities including steel.

ii. Workplace representatives play a valuable role in driving action to reduce employers’ carbon emissions and to press for changes to ensure the long-term sustainability of their organisations.

iii. Trade union environmental representatives play an important part highlighting the impact of the climate emergency within their trade union structures and help mobilise members.

iv. The work of environmental representatives should be backed by legal rights.

Congress resolves that the TUC will support and campaign for:

a. a comprehensive, publicly funded government plan to fully address the climate emergency, including a just transition for workers in high-carbon industries

b. a green industrial strategy based on a foundation of steel and manufacturing jobs

c. radical policies to support strong UK supply chains, including tough social value in procurement targets and procurement policy that ensures goods are produced in Britain and services create British jobs

d. the support and financial backing we need to decarbonise our steel industry and secure its long-term future

e. the construction of new nuclear plants, benefiting communities from Sizewell to West Cumbria, and the development of Small Modular Reactors

f. low-carbon heating, with ‘green’ and ‘blue’ and other forms of low-carbon hydrogen used as the default for heating buildings supported by the electrification of heat, with investment in production of these forms of energy and CCUS to provide a sustainable future for gas workers

g. a moratorium on Contracts for Difference awards that enable the offshoring of jobs

h. exploring proposals for a UK carbon border tariff

i. legal rights for trade union environment reps.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

1.  provide environment reps with resources to help mobilise other members

2.  continue to support the steel unions’ “Britain, We Need Our Steel” campaign

3. work with regional and local trades unionists to lobby public sector organisations for high-quality procurement rules.

Mover: GMB
Seconder: Prospect
Supporters: Unite, Community, ASLEF and FDA