For a Just Transition in Europe Trade unions call on equitable climate deal that protects workers

Brussels, 19/11/2013

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the Polish trade union confederation, Ogólnopolskie Porozumienie Zwi?zków Zawodowych (OPZZ), would like to take the opportunity of this UN conference taking place in Warsaw, to stress the importance of having an European energy and climate policy that puts the Just Transition into action.

What is at stake in Warsaw is the direction of the next international climate agreement, which will be agreed on in 2015.
European workers have largely paid the bill of the crisis. Massive restructuring programs have led European unemployment towards historical levels, with 27 million currently unemployed in the EU. Wages, working conditions and social protection systems have been under attack for many years now. The social dimension should be brought back in as a cross cutting principle for all EU policies, including those designed to deal with energy and tackle climate change”, said Bernadette Ségol ETUC General Secretary.

The only alternative for combining social justice and environmental effectiveness is to implement a just transition in Europe, based on job creation and maintenance, greening of skills and training, participation through social dialogue, respect for labour and workers’ rights, and preservation of social protection systems”.

The organisations’ main concern is the current focus on austerity and short-sighted vision of competitiveness to oppose progressive proposals in the fields of environment or social protection.
This conservative stance is extremely worrying at a time when ambition and long-term vision are needed to exit the crisis through investments, sustainable growth and job creation.

Therefore, both the ETUC and OPZZ call the EU institutions and member states to halt the race to the bottom and to build a Just Transition towards a green economy allowing workers to have a decent future.

The full text of the joint statement can be read here: http://www.etuc.org/IMG/pdf/COP_19_ETUC_OPZZ_statement.pdf

19.11.2013
Press release