Motion: COP26 and workplace environmentalism

As temperature records tumble and states fiddle while the world burns, we can’t afford to wait five years for a new government to tackle the climate emergency. Convergence between the climate movement and the labour movement offers the only hope of averting catastrophe.

rs21 members have produced a model motion you can adapt and use to mobilise for the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November and organise for action on climate in every workplace.

You can download a PDF version of the motion here.

This (branch/region/committee/trades council/union/conference) notes the urgent need for action on the climate emergency, both in response to existing negative impacts such as extreme weather, fires, droughts, floods, and loss of habitat and species; and to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible climate damage which people increasingly realise the world is on course for after the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

We recognise that big business, the military, and the richest individuals are responsible for the vast majority of climate change, whilst the global working class and poor are disproportionately at risk. A just transition (that protects the lives, livelihoods, and rights of the working class, poor and disadvantaged) to a decarbonised economy is not only right but is the only way the movement against climate chaos will secure the mass support needed to win, and avoid a rich minority protecting themselves at the expense of the planet and the vast majority of people.

We note that the UN ‘COP’ climate change conferences have become a major focus for campaigners, that COP26 will be taking place in Glasgow from 1-12 November 2021, and that many organisations are already making plans.

We resolve to:

  1. Organise to make COP26 in Glasgow, 9-19 November 2021, a major focus of campaigning for effective action on the climate emergency.
  2. Work with other local labour movement and environmental organisations to arrange discussions locally and within workplaces about practically how workers and unions can prepare for COP26.
  3. Call on our wider trades union councils/national organisation/similar to organise attendance and intervention at COP26 calling for a worker-led climate plan.
  4. Organise around COP26 to build international links with workers and environmentalists from the Global South.
  5. Call on employers and local authorities to declare a climate emergency and involve workers and communities in planning, implementing, and monitoring to rapidly achieve zero carbon emissions, including ending investments in fossil fuels.
  6. Call on employers to recognise union green/environmental reps and give them work time for their activities.
  7. Create climate action groups at workplace level and within union structures.
  8. Look for opportunities for unions, communities, and the climate movement to work together, for example for improved housing and public transport.
  9. Call on our union to carry out a major exercise to understand the potential positive and negative impacts of the climate crisis and responses to it on employment.
  10. Campaign for a legal right to strike and to repeal all legislation that makes it harder to strike over climate.
  11. Discuss what climate-related demands to include in collective bargaining, including ones which could be the basis of a lawful “trade dispute” under current legislation and to call on our union to produce guidance on this.
  12. Ensure that unions are visible as relevant and useful organisations within the climate movement and that participants are encouraged to join a union.
  13. Demand massive public investment in the jobs required to address climate emergency, including massive improvements in renewable energy, housing, and public transport.
  14. Demand support for people coping with or fleeing the consequences of climate breakdown, whether internally within the UK or from abroad.
  15. Send this motion to our local trades union council/ through our union structure/ forward to any wider coordinating body.



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