IndustriALL Global Union and industriAll European Trade Union have issued a joint declaration demanding a Just Transition for workers as the world’s nations meet for the United Nations climate change summit in Katowice, Poland – COP 24.
The unions want governments to commit to a Just Transition that makes industrial workers part of the solution to meet climate change emission targets through sustainable industrial policies containing creative labour force adjustment programs, founded on strong social protections.
The declaration states:
“The industrial sectors that employ our members are facing enormous challenges linked to the goal of deep decarbonisation, yet it is those very sectors that are essential to deliver the technologies and solutions that will mitigate the impact of climate change while providing the essentials of development, sustainable jobs, and technological progress.”
The 24thmeeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is taking place in the heart of Poland’s coal country, has been dubbed the ‘Just Transition COP’.
Just Transition is incorporated in clear language in the preamble to the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change signed at COP21 in 2015: “Taking into account the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities”.
This language appears in the Paris Agreement only as the result of strong trade union pressure in Paris and at previous COPs. Signatory nations must now accept that they have made a political commitment to Just Transition, demand the unions.
“There cannot be an unjust transition to environmental protection, casting untold millions of workers aside. Neither can we ignore the urgent need to deal with climate change - there are no jobs on a dead planet,” says the declaration.
“It is our hope that COP24 will finally outline a Just Transition to an optimistic future - a future of full employment and decent work for workers, their families, and the communities that depend upon them. All stakeholders must be a part of this discussion - a Just Transition can only be done with us.”
IndustriALL Global Union and industriAll European Trade Union, along with the International Trade Union Confederation and the European Trade Union Confederation, also urgently insist that Parties endorse the Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration, submitted by Poland.