Trade unions are taking part in the COP24 conference in Katowice that runs from 3-14 December. COP24 is the informal name for the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We will discuss with governments and many others the transition and even transformation of our economies that are needed to address global warming and climate change.
This is acute and pressing as underlined by the many protests organised across the world ahead of the COP24 meeting. Here in Brussels 75000, mostly young people, marched to demand action by the Belgian government. It was one of the largest demonstrations for many years and supported by all the trade unions.
The 2018 UN Emission Gap report shows that CO2 emissions are rising again and that catastrophic climate change is more likely. The plans of the European Commission to respond and argue for carbon neutral policies was published last week, coinciding with protests in France and parts of Belgium against rising fuel prices. The so-called redistribution effects of those policies are becoming clearer, hitting low income households hard. That’s why we are calling for Member States to be allowed to continue to regulate electricity prices.
It is also why we insist on a Just Transition so that the consequences for employment and income do not fall mainly on workers and our families. All this implies that we need a change to another economic model that puts people above profits. EPSU will be part of the global trade union delegation during COP24, continuing the work we have done in the electricity social dialogue and with the Right2Energy Coalition.
Young workers’ vision
The Brussels climate demo showed how much young people care about and want to be involved in changing our society. EPSU’s youth network is equally motivated to have an impact on the changing world of work. It has launched a survey – Your vision, your future: the Future Vision of Youth at Work 2030 Survey – in cooperation with the European Youth Forum and the ETUC Youth Committee. We hope that you will spread the survey around so that as many young workers as possible can contribute. This will allow trade unionists to better understand and address the impact of changes on young workers.
The implant files
Last week saw breaking news of the implant files revealed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Many patients around the globe have been unwitting test subjects for new medical devices and technology. EPSU highlighted the current system of certification where a certification body can approve products in order to make money for private interests so creating serious risks for society. It is yet another example of the way neo-liberal ideology and corporate interests have permeated our societies and lead to the outsourcing of public tasks to the detriment of workers and people.
International Trade Union Confederation meets in Copenhagen
Fighting this and changing the rules is the theme of the 4th World Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation taking place from 2-7 December in Copenhagen. A delegation of Public Services International (PSI) will bring the message of people over profit to the conference. PSI has managed to secure changes to the ITUC programme of action to ensure it recognises the central place public services have in our daily lives. And above all the Congress will focus on building workers power to make our planet a better place to work and live.