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Georgian unions prepare to negotiate a Just Transition

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9 December, 2021On 4 December, unions in Georgia discussed their response to climate change and future reforms in the global energy balance, within the context of a Just Transition. Due to travel restrictions, foreign experts and guests participated online, while Georgian unionists met in person.

Participants discussed how climate change and the transition to green energy can affect industry sectors in Georgia, and what unions can do to protect workers. Unions decided to widely inform members on the concept of Just Transition, and to develop an approach to Just Transition, bring it to the government and employers in Georgia, and invite them to negotiate on climate change and ways of transition to green energy.

IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan spoke about the recent climate conference COP26 in Glasgow, where IndustriALL, as part of a union delegation with the motto “Nothing about us, without us”, lobbied to ensure workers’ issues were on the agenda.

“A coordinated, global response to Just Transition is important to secure workers’ rights and defend workers' interests during the transition to a climate-resilient future,”

said Kemal Özkan.

Michael Wolters from IG BCE spoke on the implementation of a Just Transition policy in Germany, where the closure of coal mines took 50 years, and laid-off miners were able to retire earlier or be retrained for the newly created jobs.

Cristina Hanson and Jesper Lund Larson from 3F in Denmark spoke about a green transition as a road to new jobs and better climate, the development of green technologies, and what 3F is doing to promote a green transition.

IndustriALL affiliates from Ukraine shared the country’s experience in shifting to green energy, which now makes up around nine per cent of the energy balance.

Chairs of three IndustriALL affiliates in Georgia described the current situation and perspectives in energy, coal, oil and gas industries. In Georgia, the government has just launched the development of ten-year program on climate and energy. Unions will demand that the government includes their representatives in the commissions developing the programme.

The workshop was the start of a two-year project run by IndustriALL and the United Federation of Danish Workers 3F, for unions in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.