Climate change – an open letter to Cllr George Duggins, Leader, Coventry City Council

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Dear Councillor Duggins,

Climate change – An Open Letter

UNISON is writing to you to ask for your support for the Global Climate Action taking place on Friday 20th September.

Around the world people are committing to take action against climate change and in support of a sustainable future, popularised by Greta Thunberg.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) recently passed a motion supporting a 30 minute protest and locally unions are organising for this to happen. 

UNISON, with other unions, are calling for members to gather at 12.30 in Broadgate and we would urge the Council to help publicise this and to join the Global Day of Action, and make it clear staff are being encouraged to attend and to ensure attendance is facilitated by managers, subject to service needs. We would also encourage you to consider ‘sounding the alarm’ in Council Buildings at some point on Friday morning, to remind people of the protest and raise awareness of the situation facing the climate.

UNISON would also ask, on behalf of young people who may wish to join in the demonstrations, that the council work pro-actively with schools to allow students to show their concerns about their future without fear of reprisal.

UNISON looks forward to your response and would be happy to meet discuss this email.

Yours Sincerely

Sarah

Sarah Feeney

Branch Secretary

UNISON Coventry City Branch

PRESS RELEASE – Coventry Trade Unions build support for 20 September Climate Day of Action

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Actions against Climate Change have escalated across the world, including the huge international movement of students, led by Greta Thunberg, which have led the way.  Trade unions across Coventry have pledged to support and join the protests planned in Coventry on Friday September 20th,  at the start of a week-long Climate Action Week. 

The UK government has a target of net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050 but is not expected to reach that target. It is right that this massive global crisis has been met by protests and strikes of school students, young people and many others around the planet. These demonstrations have shown the anger that exists and the desire for action and change.

Coventry TUC, with Coventry City UNISON, will be coordinating trade union support on the day. Unions will be urging members to show solidarity with local environmental activist organisations such as Coventry Extinction Rebellion and Coventry Climate Action Network (CAN) as well as organising their own protests in their workplaces or, where they can, join the activities in the City Centre.

The recent TUC Congress, representing over 6 million workers across the UK, voted to support a 30-minute protest to coincide with the 20 September activities. In support of this it was agreed that local unions will call on members to gather in Broadgate at 12.30pm on the Friday September 20th to join with climate activists and demonstrate their support for urgent action on Climate Change 

Jane Nellist, President of Coventry TUC said:

“The future of our planet is at risk. The evidence is clear – since 1988 just 100 companies have been responsible for 71% of all emissions internationally. Governments must act to change that. The planet is more important than profits for the rich!

To stop climate change, we urgently need a society run in the interests of people and the environment. 

We wholeheartedly support the campaigns to achieve this and urge all trade union members and communities to participate in whatever way they can.”

Chris Burrow, for Coventry City UNISON, one of the unions initiating the support, said: 

Every Coventry Worker needs Trade unions to fight the huge threat caused by climate change.

In local workplaces this summer the effects of climate change have been widely felt by Coventry workers. Despite the increase in heatwaves we still have no maximum workplace temperature. 

All workers, whether office based or outdoors, have the right to work in decent and safe conditions whatever the weather. Workplaces should have safe temperatures for work, and protection available against extremes of weather.  

Climate Change is a workplace issue in Coventry as well as a global issue everywhere that stems from a profit driven economic system. That is why we are making this one of our very highest campaign priorities’.

ENDS