General Motion on Climate Change

Below and in printable form is a General Motion intended for wide circulation across the trade union movement, and adoption by branches, regions, trades councils and annual conferences, with an ultimate aim for it to be heard at the 2024 TUC.

The motion is deliberately pitched at a high level, starting with the basic assertion that climate change is a class issue and a trade union issue.  It sets out the fundamental elements that should underpin the climate policies of every union in order to achieve a common understanding of the crisis, and how to respond to it in the interests of climate justice for workers, public service and the planet.  Many of these elements will already be clearly understood, but there is a need for a consistent and coherent articulation of these across the movement.  

The reason this General Motion is being raised now is due to the fragmented and inconsistent responses of different trade unions, within unions, and between members and their leaderships.  In particular, the climate-related motions passed at recent Trades Union Congresses have been deeply regressive, producing a narrative that runs counter to the long term interests, and job security, of workers, both in the U.K. and globally.  This motion seeks to redirect that narrative towards more progressive and radical solutions that will produce and secure thousands of jobs, restore a public service ethos, and make genuine progress towards countering the climate emergency.

Adaptations to the motion are welcomed to incorporate specific local, sectoral or international factors; the motion needs to be relevant to each constituency while ensuring that the fundamental elements are retained.  It purposely avoids specific references in order to be universal, and it is envisaged that details of specifics would be covered in complementary motions.

Finally, this motion is not viewed as the property of any one union, climate organisation or political faction.  It has emerged from a common analysis among activists across a number of trade unions, many of whom are also involved with the Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union group (CACCTU), Greener Jobs Alliance (GJA) and other climate networks. 

There can be no environmental or climate justice when there is oppression

We stand with millions around the world calling for:

Ceasefire now. An end to the siege on Gaza: safe water, food, fuel, and medicine now.

Release all hostages and all Palestinian political prisoners being held illegally.

An end to Israel's occupation and work towards a just peace

PCS Union plan for a National Climate and Biodiversity Service

John Moloney, Assistant General Secretary, PCS:

PCS Union was closely involved with developing the original One Million Climate Jobs campaign. As climate disasters intensify, global emissions rise, and the gap widens between UK climate targets and effective polices to achieve them, the need is greater than ever for a comprehensive climate jobs plan to cut emissions across all sectors.  For PCS, we know this necessary transformation cannot be implemented effectively as the Civil Service is not designed to deliver a long term plan that requires the greatest degree of cross departmental working. That is why we have proposed the National Climate and Biodiversity Service, which would join together all net zero work in the UK Civil Service so that government operates as a coherent whole.

Faced with the government's backtracking, driven in part by misguided electoral calculations (as part of their war on woke and the alleged war on the motorist), we must redouble our efforts. Both in the trade unions and in the climate change movement we need to work together convince workers and the public that the government is wrong, but also to take the necessary actions to get this government and any future ones to adopt the right polices.

The full text of the new pamphlet is below, you can also download it as a pdf

National Climate Change and Biodiversity Service: A PCS workers’ plan for an alternative civil service

The era of global warming has ended and “the era of global boiling has arrived”, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, has declared.

In those circumstances, the notion that it is business as usual for the Civil Service or society as a whole, clearly is not sustainable. There needs to be a radical overhaul of how the UK Civil Service works. This would only be one element in the solution – you still need political will and a plan – but without effective state mechanisms there is no hope in ensuring net zero.