Several environment resolutions were carried at UCU’s annual congress held at the end of May 2019.
- These included a resolution to publicise the current climate strikes and to set up solidarity actions for future strikes, as well as committing to researching and developing a plan to achieve ‘scope 3’ carbon neutrality by 2030 in all the institutions where members work. This was reflected in a resolution to support and promote calls for a general strike for action on climate change.
- Congress also agreed to lobby government to carry out their obligations under the Paris Agreement and press for every further and higher education institution to be zero carbon by 2030.
- Food waste was the subject of a further resolution which asked the union to develop guidance for branches on working with student unions and environmental reps to urge institutions to reduce food waste on campus and encourage them to donate excess food to local food banks.
Climate emergencyOur school students are fighting for a better future for all of us. Let’s make sure they are not fighting alone.
30 minute solidarity stoppage
UCU has launched a campaign to show solidarity with the global student strike called for 20 September 2019. We are building support for a TUC motion calling for a 30 minute workday solidarity stoppage on that day. It would greatly help our branch to show support in this campaign, by opening discussions around these issues among members, with other campus unions and trades councils and with the student unions.
- join the action alongside students at lunchtimes and before and after work
- issuing a statement of solidarity with the youth strikers
- ask your employer to jointly declare a climate emergency with staff trade unions
- invite the UK Student Climate Network to speak at a UCU branch meeting.
Who can be an environmental rep?
Any UCU member who is enthusiastic enough to promote a green agenda in the workplace.
What can a union environmental rep do?
Environmental reps can work in a similar way to other union reps by raising awareness of green issues in the workplace and making sure they are included in the negotiating/bargaining agenda. A main concern would be to agree a joint approach to ‘greening the workplace’, ideally formalised in a collective agreement and overseen by an employer/union committee that addresses environmental issues.
Where can I get more information?
- You can email the Bargaining and Negotiations Official (Health, Safety and Sustainability) for more information.
- TUC UGR handbook: The TUC have published an excellent handbook for union green rep (UGRs or environment reps) with advice on organising and action, background information on the issues and a resource section. Printed copies of Go Green at Work are being circulated to every UCU branch. Others can be obtained by emailing Bargaining and Negotiations Official (Health, Safety and Sustainability).