The Paris Agreement, signed in December 2015 to cut global greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change, will have a significant impact on IndustriALL’s sectors. Unions need to look at public policies at the national level and develop action to ensure a Just Transition for workers.
IndustriALL’s secretariat made a detailed analysis for each sector it represents. The “IndustriALL Global Union Sectoral Sustainability Report” has been circulated to all Executive Committee members as a policy paper and accepted as such at IndustriALL’s last Executive Committee meeting.
“2015 gave us the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With these two great initiatives, and countless smaller ones, the world signalled the intention to change – to transition to a sustainable way of doing things. If a transition is certain, it is up to the labour movement to ensure that it is a Just Transition.” said Brian Kohler, IndustriALL health, safety and sustainability director.
The concept of a Just Transition is that workers, their families, their communities and their unions should be kept whole, if employment is affected as a result of actions taken to protect the environmental commons. The question is fundamentally who pays for, and who benefits from, a transition to sustainability. IndustriALL wants an optimistic future; a future that is attractive to today’s workers as well as future workers. A pessimistic future by definition is not “Just”.
A Just Transition relies on three fundamentals: sustainable industrial policies, strong social protections, and creative labour adjustment policies. The most Just Transition possible will always be to defend today's workers in existing jobs, by demanding an industrial transformation that creates, evolves, or maintains sustainable jobs. However, radical changes are coming to some sectors – and if we are unwilling to fight for a Just Transition for those workers, they will surely face an unjust one.
IndustriALL is not a newcomer to questions of sustainability and climate change. Its predecessors and affiliates have led the way. IndustriALL has a responsibility to carry on this tradition. There are no jobs on a dead planet, and there is no future in trying to be the last defender of the indefensible. Sustainability, in all of its dimensions, is no longer a preference. It is essential.
Read the full report here