Union leaders announce their commitments to the fight against climate change

More than 50 unions representing millions of workers joined the Unions4Climate action at the ITUC World Congress in Berlin. The sign-up for climate justice signals the start of a global mobilisation for a climate deal in Paris in 2015.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC, said we must mobilise for a global agreement in Paris and demand industrial transformation with the funding for a just transition for vulnerable nations and communities.

“Threats to jobs and livelihoods include the threat of climate change. For unions it is simple. There are no jobs on a dead planet,” said Sharan Burrow.

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, Trades Union Congress; Ignacio Fernández Toxo, General Secretary CCOO; Marc Leemans, President CSC-ACV; Bishnu Rimal, President, GEFONT; Julio Cesa Bazan Figueroa, General Secretary, CUT Peru; and Louise Thipe, President, South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union were among the union leaders who took part in the sign-up for climate justice.

Unions are working to secure an ambitious climate global framework which will protect the lives and jobs of working people, ensure universal education access breakthrough technologies, steer industrial transformation of all economic sectors and industries and guarantee just transition measures for the world’s people.

“We watched governments fail the planet and their people in Copenhagen and the same corporate interests want to see failure in Paris. The mission of the trade union movement to ensure jobs, rights and social equality requires that we embrace the cause of a just transition towards sustainable development – a transition that must start now,” said Sharan Burrow.

ITUC research shows that 48 million new jobs could be created in just 12 countries. In Germany up to 400,000 new renewable energy jobs have been created in just two years.

The 3rd ITUC World Congress in Berlin dedicated a new award for Union Action for Climate Justice in memory of Dorje Khatri, leader of his Sherpas’ Union and Vice-President of GEFONT. The annual award will be announced by the ITUC General Council.

“Dorje Khartri, a great climate warrior, died in a tragic accident, at work on Mount Everest.

He was alarmed at the impact of climate change on his beloved mountain and he planted the ITUC flag on the top of Mount Everest to mark his pride in our fight for the climate. His memory will live on with unions who continue to act for climate justice,” said Sharan Burrow.

Unions are taking part in the unions4climate action by mobilising to ensure ambitious commitments from governments, engaging in dialogue to plan for industrial transformation and secure just transition measures and organise workers in ‘’green’’ jobs to ensure decent work and union growth.

People can show their support and join the movement for climate action: http://act.equaltimes.org/unions4climate