From education to employment

Lobby of TUC as University and College Union calls for climate walkout support

School students and supporters will urge delegates at the TUC Congress in Brighton on Sunday to back the global school strikes on Friday 20 September. The lobby, organised by the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN), starts at 3pm to ensure students and supporters can lobby delegates arriving for the TUC Congress, which kicks off at 4pm.

The University and College Union (UCU) has submitted a motion to the four-day conference calling on trade unionists to support the school students’ efforts and to join them for 30 minutes in a solidarity walkout on 20 September.

That motion will be heard on Tuesday afternoon as part of the debate on the economy. The union’s general secretary Jo Grady will support the motion and say that workers should lend 30 minutes of their day on 20 September to the most important issue the planet faces.

Jo Grady will also be speaking at a fringe event on climate change on Monday at 12:45pm alongside shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey.

The union believes tackling climate change will be central to the development of the British economy in the 21st century and an essential way of improving the lives of working people.

The union says it is vital for people to stand alongside school students and for trade unions to speak with a united voice on the dangers of climate change and the importance of a just transition to a greener economy.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘The work done by Greta Thunberg and school students around the world has been inspirational. Now it’s time for the rest of us to catch up.

‘As trade unionists it is important that we raise awareness of the impact of climate change, and we hope delegates in Brighton will back our motion. If workers don’t take a stand against climate change and speak with a united voice on the importance of a just transition, then multi-national corporations and anti-worker governments will simply take decisions without us.’

Jake Woodier from the UK Student Climate Network said: ‘In the context of the ever-worsening climate crisis, it’s essential that workers are at the forefront of fighting for a just transition. That the UCU has put forward this motion to be heard at the TUC congress shows the trade union movement the direction it should be heading in – working in solidarity with those putting most pressure on government and those in positions of power to act now before it’s too late.’

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