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June 2009

Research shows unions are the real green champions for tackling climate change

The Labour Research Department has published the results of a TUC survey on climate change. LRD received 1,301 responses to the survey in February-March this year, with detailed responses from union reps and activists from 30 different unions.

The research found that reps are vital catalysts to ensure that low carbon measures are implemented across thousands of workplaces. Unions are negotiating agreements to meet sectoral and organisation targets to reduce emissions. Hundreds of workplace committees have discussed the issues and made proposals. Union reps have carried out workplace audits and held green events.

The survey also found that most employers had failed to take the measures necessary, either to reduce their emissions, or to adapt their working conditions to climate change. Many reps expressed frustration after their suggestions to reduce emissions at work were ignored by employers.

Some union reps have been obstructed from taking up climate change in the workplace. Three-quarters said they did not have facility time for environmental work and 49 reps said they had been refused time off for training.

The results of the survey were presented at a TUC seminar on 9 June. The research has also been published in the latest LRD booklet:
Unions and climate change the case for union environment reps

For more information about the research, contact Paul Hampton.


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