Labour Research November 2009

Health & Safety Matters

Wonderful Copenhagen?

There are decent, safe jobs in the growing environmental sector — but only if unions engage with climate and energy policy, says the European TUC (ETUC).

Trade unionists from across the European Union discussed the issue at a successful ETUC conference in London on 5-6 October. The ETUC will be intervening in the next month’s Copenhagen summit on climate change, calling for climate policies to take account of the social issues.

Joël Decaillon, ETUC secretary, said: “The ETUC believes that climate disturbances pose a major threat to our societies and our economies, and they will have a negative effect on the most vulnerable citizens and workers, in particular in the developing countries.”

It is launching a campaign ahead of the Copenhagen summit, to tackle climate disturbances in a global way, not merely from the environmental angle.

The ETUC has published research on European employment with respect to climate policies. The study, Climate disturbances, the new industrial policies and ways out of the crisis, contains an assessment of the potential for carbon capture and storage in the UK, Germany and Poland, with very different results.

“Ensuring a fair social transition means setting up proper social negotiations at every level with instruments for that negotiation process, the necessary funding, and new training to help in the transformation of employment,” Decaillon said. “Only if we can do this can the anxieties and threats be transformed into opportunities to create sustainable, quality jobs and curb social inequalities.”