COP26: Union leaders urge world leaders to listen to their voices

Trade union leaders representing 2.3 million workers have written to the leaders of the COP26 nations urging them them to listen to their voices on climate issues “before, during and after” the conference.

Officials from 14 leading unions including Unite, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), the National Education Union (NEU), Communication Workers Union and Public and Commercial Services union argued that negotiations in the coming weeks are set to largely exclude workers.

The union leaders said that “too often workers’ voices have been ignored when it comes to decision-making about the climate and plotting a route out of the catastrophe we now face”.

They said that “whether it is the measures we use to address climate change or how we protect workers’ jobs and livelihoods as we transition to a more sustainable society, there are many issues where workers should have a central say”.

COP26 is the chance of 'a path to hope' according to Frances O'Grady of the TUC.

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Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: “Cop26 leaders need to listen to our demands and talk to workers and their representatives."

Kevin Courtney, NEU joint general secretary, said: “The voice of educators needs to be heard loud and clear as they will be supporting our children leading the way towards a better future.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Cop26 is a chance to put the world on a path of hope and opportunity and the transition to net zero is an opportunity not only to protect our climate, but to do so while protecting and creating good jobs.

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“From the leaders gathering in Glasgow we need not only commitments to emission reductions, but also a clear path to a just transition for working people.

“Unions across the world will call on our leaders this week to make shared commitments to invest in job creation, job protection, rights to retrain and union recognition in new green industries.

“In the UK, we look to the Prime Minister to show leadership by bringing UK investment in green industry up to at least the same level as our other leading nations in the OECD.

“The Government must listen to unions and employers and implement in full the recommendations of its own green jobs task force.”

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