‘No jobs on a dead planet’: trade unions call for urgent climate action

‘No jobs on a dead planet’: trade unions call for urgent climate action
Photo from the European Trade Union syndicate.

The European Trade Union syndicate (ETUC) has supported the aim of the European Green Deal to transition towards a climate-neutral and environmentally-sustainable economy, but they worry that social and labour impacts haven’t been given enough thought.

“Reducing rapidly the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions is a top priority for European trade unions, since there are no jobs on a dead planet,” the ETUC said in a statement.

‘The ETUC supports the increase in the climate ambition proposed in the Fit for 55 package; however, these policies will have strong socio-economic consequences, impacting workers from many different sectors. Those social and labour impacts have not been sufficiently tackled by the European Green Deal so far.”

The European Commission published a proposal yesterday aimed at ensuring the climate transition “is fair and leaves nobody behind,” echoing the 2015 Paris Agreement which calls for “a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs.”

Positive steps but insufficient

The unions said they were happy to see a greater focus on the social and labour dimensions of the transition and welcomed efforts to safeguard jobs and provide training for new skills.

But they stressed that recommendations for Member States are not enough to tackle the enormity of the challenge at hand.

“We need concrete legislation to accompany the Fit for 55 package to make sure that any new jobs created are quality jobs and that workers from regions and sectors most affected will all receive adequate support and alternative opportunities,” said Ludovic Voet, ETUC Confederal Secretary.

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They say that adopting hard climate laws while only recommending measures for Member States to tackle the social impacts creates a double standard that tells citizens that Europe isn’t there to protect them.

“The ETUC calls on EU policy makers to provide the right legislative tools to ensure a socially fair transition for workers that builds on new opportunities and leaves nobody behind,” said Voet.

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