“Workers need the right to strike for climate justice”

This is a joint statement between the UK Student Climate Network and the Free Our Unions campaign.

If your organisation would like to support the statement, get in touch: email freeourunions@gmail.com AND unionoutreach.ukscn@gmail.com

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Workers need the right to strike for climate justice – repeal the anti-union laws

In 2019, school students’ strikes internationally have shifted the debate about the climate crisis. Now more and more school student activists recognise that they alone cannot tackle the crisis and win a fundamental transformation of society. A just transition to a new economic system run in the interests of people and planet, not profit, must have workers at its core.

For more than thirty years, workers in the UK have been fenced in by laws which make quick and effective strike action difficult, and action over political issues like climate change more difficult still. Workers do take radical action despite the law; but over the years the anti-union laws have helped weaken the culture of workplace organisation and workers’ direct action.

The urgency of the climate crisis demands both bending and defiance of these laws – as groups of workers will undertake on 20 September – and a renewed campaign for them to be scrapped completely.

In the context of climate chaos, workers urgently need freedom to take quick and effective industrial action to defend themselves against dangerous and unstable working conditions. They urgently need freedom to take solidarity action to support other workers in their communities, across the UK and – crucially in an interconnected world where the global poor are on the frontline – in other countries. And they urgently need freedom to take industrial action for political issues, most importantly a just solution to the climate crisis.

We therefore call on all organisations who seriously want to fight climate change to call for the abolition of all anti-union laws and their replacement with strong legal rights for workers and unions, including the right to strike quickly and effectively, in solidarity with others and for political demands. We congratulate the Greens for taking a strong stand on these issues. We call on Labour to carry out the policy passed by its conference in 2017 and 2015. We welcome the motion to the TUC Congress submitted by the Fire Brigades Union.

UK Student Climate Network
Free Our Unions campaign

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