UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis today urged the highest possible turnout for marches in Edinburgh, London, Cardiff and Belfast next weekend, in solidarity with climate campaigners in Paris and around the world.
The International Trade Union Confederation made the same call. Both were responding to the decision by the French authorities, following the terrorist attacks in Paris, to cancel demonstrations there on 29 November and 12 December at the start and end of the important UN climate talks.
Dave Prentis said: “While we show our respect for the Paris tragedy, it is also important that we show that, even without the Paris demonstrations, politicians will not be left of the hook when making the most serious climate change commitments for the next generation.
“By marching on 28 and 29 November, our voices will be stronger than ever in calling for a climate deal that must protect people and the planet.”
Demonstrations in the four UK capitals are going ahead on 28 and 29 November. Scotland’s climate march in Edinburgh is on Saturday 28 November. www.scotlandsclimatemarch.org
Trade unionists are marching for a Just Transition to a low carbon economy to be part of the final global climate deal.
France has declared a state of emergency following the attacks, in which at least 129 people died, and the authorities have said there will be no public demonstrations or marches in Paris during the climate change talks between 28 November and 12 December.
UNISON Scotland regrets this means that our members who had planned to join the 12 December march in Paris will no longer be travelling to France. Instead they send solidarity wishes from UNISON to the climate campaigners taking part in the various civil society events still taking place around the Paris talks, including of course the large number of trade unions attending.
Trade unions from more than 250 countries will still come to Paris and join their French counterparts as well as other social movements and organisations who are there to put pressure on the UN COP21 talks, as well as the Trade Union Climate Forum, part of which will be held in the Citizens' Summit in Montreuil.
The ITUC renewed a call to all its members to take to the streets for climate justice in countries around the world next weekend, 28 and 29 November.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: "The cancellation of Paris marches and demonstrations based on security concerns adds one more reason for workers to show that no wall can be built between immediate problems and so-called long-term ones: climate change is already happening and destroying jobs and communities.
"Workers and their unions stand for decent jobs, social justice and prosperity for all, and the fight against climate change is about all those.”
On Saturday 28 November UNISON Scotland is also supporting the STUC St Andrew’s Day anti racism march, with the theme Refugees Welcome Here. The reasons for the two demonstrations are linked of course. Climate change has a major impact on reasons why people need to seek refuge in other countries, including flooding, famine and other disasters, war etc.