At the recent Scottish Trade Union Congress conference (STUC) there was a motion passed on just transition – the idea that environmental progress must go hand in hand with society and the economy. South Lanarkshire and East Kilbride Trade Union Congress took the motion to the conference, and it was seconded by Public and Commercial Services Union.
Amended Motion No. 10 “Climate Change and Just Transition”
“That this Congress notes that 2016 was the hottest year on record and confirms the process of climate change that has contributed to the changing weather patterns across the world and threatens significant impacts on sea levels, water supplies and agriculture.
“Congress notes the targets set in the Paris Agreement to keep the rise in global temperatures below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels are likely to be undermined should the Trump Presidency refuse to abide by this agreement.
“Congress welcomes the consensus across most of Scottish political and civic society that ambitious targets should be set to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to global warming and resolves to continue to support these ambitions.
“Congress, however, believes that a transition to a low carbon economy must be a just transition. This includes looking to support those communities and nations across the world that will be most immediately at risk. It also means ensuring that workers and communities in Scotland need to be assured that jobs will be created in low carbon industries as part of this transition.
“Congress, therefore, welcomes the Joint Statement on a just transition supported by the STUC, a number of affiliates and environmental groups. The statement recognises that ‘It’s time for a just transition in Scotland, moving to a modern low carbon economy in ways which protect workers’ livelihoods, create a new industrial base and deliver a fairer Scotland’.
“Congress calls on the STUC General Council to continue working with affiliates and other organisations on this agenda and calls on the Scottish and UK Governments to take a decisive lead with plans to transform key sectors, including pursuing, where necessary, to secure change at sufficient pace and scale, options for public and community ownership or partial stakes in flagship projects and enterprises. 36
“Congress believes that much more can be achieved by governments by establishing a climate change or just transition commission, to oversee the transformations needed and which puts justice for workers and the community at its heart.”
It’s great to see unions highlight the just transition – their support is vital. It shows clear determination that people want change and recognise the need to act now. This is an issue that it’s very important now and for the future, and this is why I will continue work to ensure that no one is left behind as we move to a greener and cleaner Scotland.