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TUC backs 20 September walkouts and fight against climate crisis

10 September 2019

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has backed the global school walkouts on 20 September and pledged to support the efforts of school children striking for climate justice. Delegates at the annual congress in Brighton today backed a motion that warns the future of the planet is at risk if we don't force governments to cut emissions.

The motion also called on workers to back the 20 September global walkouts and lend 30 minutes of their day to show support for school children taking part in the action. The TUC has said it also wanted to see unions playing a key role in a "just transition" to a low-carbon greener economy.

UCU - who brought the original climate motion to the TUC - said that tackling climate change will be central to the development of the British economy in the 21st century and an essential way of improving the lives of working people.

The union is writing to Universities UK and the Association of Colleges seeking their support to allow university and college staff to participate in the actions on 20 September. Local UCU branches are also asking their employers to back the action and some, such as the University of Bristol, have already signed up.

The TUC support comes as new analysis by a group led by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says the planet urgently needs to be made more climate change resilient and richer countries need to invest in adaptation measures that will benefit the world.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'The trade union movement is sending a clear message today that it is up to the challenge of fighting the climate crisis and building a stronger and greener economy. Climate change is a trade union issue and our planet's future is at risk. The work done by Greta Thunberg and school students around the world has been inspirational and now it's time for the rest of us to catch up.'

Jake Woodier from the UK Student Climate Network said: 'We're delighted to see the trade union movement making big strides forward in its response to the climate crisis. We're calling for ambitious and bold solutions to the crisis like a Green New Deal to create millions of well-paid, secure and unionised jobs, massive investment in marginalised communities and a just transition for those in today's high emissions sectors. Working together, we can secure a just and prosperous world for all.'

Last updated: 16 September 2019