11 Sep TUCG welcomes call for Climate Strike Solidarity
The TUCG welcomes the decision of TUC Congress 2019 to call for solidarity with the Climate Strike on 20 September, as a composite motion (moved by Unite and seconded by UCU) passed yesterday.
This had been discussed at a packed TUCG fringe on Monday lunchtime chaired by recently elected PCS Assistant General Secretary John Moloney. Kevin Courtney – General Secretary of Teachers’ union the NEU – said his mailbox had been indundated on this issue more than any other, with teachers asking how they could support their students and even join their strike actions.
Kevin attacked the Tory anti-union legislation which makes it illegal for workers to take strike action to demonstrate political solidarity. Teachers should do everything possible to ensure students are not punished or victimised for exercising their democratic rights.
Union leaders were joined by school striker Annapurna Marley from Brighton who gave a powerful account of how her generation were determined to stand up against a system which, if left unchecked, stands to ruin the future of human life on the planet. She explained how young people have been drawn to research the systemic drivers of climate change and ecological destruction – and begun to analyse why global inequalities and injustice are generated by the economic system.
Jo Grady – UCU General Secretary – paid tribute to activists for her own union, whose original motion had called for members of other unions to call their own solidarity stoppages of at least 30 minutes. Education unions, she argued, had lessons to learn from the students, who were determined to recognise the emergency and take the necessary action.
Asad Rehman from War on Want argued that climate change is a crucial issue of international solidarity, and required a struggle for global justice and system-wide change in the basis of political economy. The idea of a “just transition” is only the start – we need be much bolder in extending public ownership and control, with workers determining production for social need – as envisaged by the Lucas Aerospace workers several decades ago now.
Finally, Katie Lomas (President of Probation workers union NAPO) urged her union colleagues to support the motion calling for solidarity, and for the climate emergency to be put at the heart of rebuilding our economy and society in the wake of austerity