Unions urge Cop26 leaders to 'give workers a say' at climate change summit

World leaders descend in Glasgow today for the crunch climate change summit in a bid to reach targets to stop global temperatures rising more than 1.5C

Union chiefs have written to Cop26 leaders urging them to hear what workers have to say on climate issues “before, during and after” the conference.

Officials from 14 leading unions including Unite, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), the National Education Union (NEU), Communication Workers Union and Public and Commercial Services union argued negotiations in the coming weeks are set to exclude workers.

The trade union bosses said it’s time for workers to have a “central say” in certain issues when leaders are making decisions on how best to protect the planet.

Their calls were echoed by environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg said on Sunday “most people” will agree with the Queen’s comments earlier this month when she suggested she is irritated by a lack of action in tackling the climate crisis.

The 18-year-old climate activist told the BBC it helps when a range of leaders share their views on the climate crisis.

At the crunch climate summit, Boris Johnson is hoping to encourage fellow leaders to deliver on the target of preventing global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5C degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Greta Thunberg said it ‘makes a difference when people speak up’ on climate matters


AFP via Getty Images)

Cop26 President Alok Sharma told the opening session of the crunch climate summit in Glasgow it’s their last chance to keep temperature limits to 1.5C.

But he stressed: “If we act now, and we act together, we can protect our precious planet. So, let’s come together in these two weeks and ensure that where Paris promised, Glasgow delivers.”

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: “Cop26 leaders need to listen to our demands and talk to workers and their representatives.

“Workers’ voices need to be heard when it comes to vital decisions on how we fight climate change, and protect jobs and livelihoods as we do so.

“Workers should be a part of making these decisions as far as possible, not simply have the decisions made for them.

“They are the ones best-placed to decide what is best for them and form their own futures.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has called on leaders to invest in job creation and job protection



Kevin Courtney, NEU joint general secretary, said: “The voice of educators needs to be heard loud and clear as they will be supporting our children leading the way towards a better future.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Cop26 is a chance to put the world on a path of hope and opportunity and the transition to net zero is an opportunity not only to protect our climate, but to do so while protecting and creating good jobs.

“From the leaders gathering in Glasgow we need not only commitments to emission reductions, but also a clear path to a just transition for working people.

“Unions across the world will call on our leaders this week to make shared commitments to invest in job creation, job protection, rights to retrain and union recognition in new green industries.

“In the UK, we look to the Prime Minister to show leadership by bringing UK investment in the green industry up to at least the same level as our other leading nations in the OECD.

“The Government must listen to unions and employers and implement in full the recommendations of its own green jobs task force.”

Shadow Trade Secretary Emily Thornberry warned the PM the summit is “not a giant photo opportunity” and urged him to “summon up all the statesmanship he has” to get countries to agree to a deal.

She added: “This is not just a sort of, you know, a lap of honour for countries. There needs to be serious work.

“And my concern is, and I’m being really honest, brutal about this, is that quite often before these summits happen a great deal of hard work has been done.

“And countries have got quite a long way to the agreement before you get the final agreement at the meeting itself. And my concern is that there’s still so much work to be done at Glasgow.”

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