Climate-proofing work

The ITUC has launched a global workplace action to demand that employers engage with workers and their unions to set in motion plans to climate-proof their operations. From now until 26 June 2019, the Climate-Proof Our Work (#cPOW) push will see workers start the conversation with their bosses.

“It is crunch time, and we need to see employers taking concrete steps and to know what steps they will take. Our future depends on it, and we need every single workplace and enterprise to pull its weight. If employers are serious about climate change, we are with them; if not, then unions will demand that they get serious,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

Working people are on the front lines of climate change. As nine of the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 2005, the urgency is clear. Already 83 million climate-related refugees have fled from disaster and have lost livelihoods. A further 72 million jobs are threatened by temperature increases. Climate action is needed from workplaces to parliaments. Every contribution matters, and urgent and ambitious action is needed.

“We need to take a good hard look at the business models that got us to this point. ‘Green washing’ will not cut it this time; passing off responsibility will no longer be accepted. The international labour movement is committed to addressing climate change. Working people have a common concern: will their job, as it is, stand the test of the transition? If not, what steps are needed to ensure that it does? If done properly through dialogue and negotiation between employers and unions with the necessary support from governments, this opens the door to realising just transitions and taking on the existential task that is before us. The costs and consequences of inaction are incalculable,” said Burrow.

Trade unions know that change starts with dialogue and that workers have a right to know about the sustainability of their job and their workplace. The ITUC has prepared a number of resources to support workers in their efforts to engage their employers. The campaign guide provides advice on who to contact and what to ask. Workers are encouraged to ask about how emissions are tracked and about plans to reduce them.

“Environmental degradation, human exploitation, the root cause is the same: corporate greed. We are seeing a moment of great convergence among movements. It is moments like this in which we can move mountains,” said Burrow.

Sign up to climate-proof your work #cPOW