COP26 must deliver

Unite at COP26

The 26th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) in Glasgow was billed as the last chance to save the planet by many environmentalists given the dire warnings coming out of the scientific community.

While the event allowed more observer passes than ever this COP turned into the most exclusive with government delegations prevented from entering rooms for negotiations due to the room capacity. The trade union delegation was comprised of just five places per week for the UK delegation and just 25 places over all. 

Article 6 dicussions

The Article 6 discussions started off with the parties agreeing to rip up the old text and start afresh despite it nearly getting approval in Madrid at COP 25. Between times the parties had been chatting over zoom unofficially of course and had reached a basic agreement for a first draft and this time there could be a reference to a Just Transition. In the Katowice Committee discussions on Adjustment measures and impacts where this would normally sit there was no agreement on this or even it seems a report from the chair of the working group to guide the civil servants debates. Needless to say that by the close of play any chance of an agreement to have anything to recognise human rights or a just transition was negligible. 

There is still a lot to do on human rights and the text re the operational requirements that should be in any clause to give substance to the protections for workers who lose their jobs in the transformation process. The unions rescued the rights of women and gender from being deleted but not the rights of workers.

The problem is that next time it is going to be held from the 6 November 2022 in Egypt followed by the UAE in November 2023, two nations not well known for human rights or a free trade union movement. Before then however there are the Pre-COP talks in May/June 2022.

Download the COP26 trade union closing statement [PDF].

Our planet is gripped by a climate emergency.

What is the climate emergency?

‘Serious and urgent problems that are being caused or likely to be caused by changes in the world’s weather. In particular, the world getting warmer as a result of human activity increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere:’ - Cambridge Dictionary definition

Unite is determined that our union plays its full role in the safeguarding of our people and communities.

With over one million members, there is much that our union and members can do to hep form a more just and equal world.

Watch and Share!

Unite's environment charter

Unite is joining with fellow trade unions to ensure that it is not working people, here and around the globe, who are left to pay the price of climate destruction.

This crisis must be met in a way that delivers better jobs, a better society and better world for all.

Unite calls for:

  • The decarbonisation of our workplaces, industries and society.
  • The creation of a green society must mean a socially just and equal society.
  • Job guarantees to protect the jobs of the current workers and to ensure that all new jobs are good jobs – the right to decent work.

Workers must lead the ‘Just Transition’

Working people must not pay the price for the crisis they have not created.

At every level, from workplace employers to government, Unite will use all the levers to fight and win job guarantees, protecting members’ existing jobs and ensure where workers are transitioned to new work, all new jobs created are good, unionised jobs.

Find out more about Unite's environment taskforce and the work it is doing by visiting Learn with Unite.

When world leaders gather in Glasgow of COP26, Unite will be there. We're also proud to be mobilising for the Global Day of Action on 6 November 2021. We'll be joining the march through Glasgow and look out for a Unite presence at events near you too.

If you are in Glasgow, here are some of the key union events at the summit:

3 November – 13:15 | Blue Zone - Forth Room
ITUC event: The imperative of a Just Transition for the workforce to save our climate, lessons from the unions.

2021 is the year for governments to align climate, economic, social and labour demands. Putting Just Transition at the heart of climate policies is the only way to raise ambition. With workers and their unions at the table we can deliver good jobs and an integrated economic recovery from Covid-19.

4 November – 11:00 | Blue Zone – WWF Pavillion
WWF event: Just Energy Transformation
Moderator: Professor Jim Skea CBE FRSE FEI HonFSE
Vanessa Perez Cirera, Global Deputy Leader, Climate & Energy, WWF International
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, TUC
TBC: Tasneem Essop/Marianne Toftgaard, CAN International
Don Kanak, Chair of Prudential Insurance Growth Markets (representing World Economic Forum)

4 November – 18:30-19:30 | Online Roundtable
TUC Young Workers: Climate change and a Just Transition – what’s the future for young workers?

7 November – 9:30 to 17:30 | Online and in person – University of Strathclyde
ITUC’s “Trade Union Strategy Day”
This is the decade for transition. At this ‘trade union only’-day we will jointly discuss our strategy to increase our impact on the climate policy debate as the global labour movement. All trade union members and activists are invited to participate

7 November - 11:45 | Online - People’s Summit
The far-right, extractivism and the crackdown on trade unions and environmental activists in Colombia and Brazil
The far-right is accelerating climate devastation in Colombia and Brazil, at the same time as cracking down on trade unions and environmental activists: Colombia alone had 65 environmental defenders killed in the last year. How are these movements fighting for a just transition and climate action, and how can we support them?

8 November - 12:00 | In Person – Just Transition Hub
Are green jobs great jobs, or are green jobs rubbish jobs?
Everyone from climate activists to the government is promising great green jobs. But these jobs can also be badly-paid, precarious and not unionised. Is the rosy future we’re promising a fiction? This interactive workshop will explore what it means for a green job to be a quality job, and how climate justice movements and trade unions can make that promise a reality.

8 November - 14:00 | In Person – Just Transition Hub
The Lucas Plan for Climate? How workers are fighting to future-proof industry
From refineries to car factories, paper mills to steel mills, climate action can transform industries and create good jobs – or jobs can be lost, emissions offshored, communities hollowed out. Hear from workers who are fighting to future-proof industry – and find out how you can support them.

8 November - 16:30 | Online – Just Transition Hub
Climate action by the public sector, for the public good
Privatised climate solutions lead to profiteering and broken promises. Public ones – led by our town and city councils, public transport systems, and publicly-owned companies – can lead a timely and just transition. How do we decarbonise our public sector and fight for a public green future?

You may also find these links useful:

March with Unite for Climate Justice -  Share on Twitter 

March with Unite for Climate Justice - Share on Instagram

Share this flyer! Nov 6 Global day for Climate Justice marches: trade union block. 

Check out the event flyer (click to expand)

COP 26 fringe virtual flyer


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