Responding to the challenge of climate change
Climate change, the largest single threat to current and future generations, is posing fundamental challenges for public services and public service workers. In recent years, we have seen extreme weather events, flooding and forest fires for example, leading to loss of life and widespread damage and destruction of buildings and infrastructure. Our members across many services have been part of the immediate and longer term response – in emergency and rescue services, energy and water, local and regional government. EPSU has been working hard to influence policies at global and European level aimed at decarbonising our economies and calling for a shift away from growth at all costs. It is essential that we achieve a more sustainable society is achieved through a just transition whereby no one is left behind.
This briefing, produced for EPSU's 2019 Congress, sets out the federation's recent activity on climate change and current priorities. EPSU has published research focusing on some of the key issues and policy developments including its position on the EU's Green Deal, the failure of energy liberalisation to address climate change and an analysis of action on climate change adaptation.
Unions in Norway and Sweden have put the focus on green issues in their current and planned negotiations with church employers. In Norway there is a commitment to address sustainability issues with the Norwegian church in an agreement that also includes measures to ensure a working environment that promotes health and also initiatives to reduce sickness absence. Meanwhile, in Sweden upcoming negotiations will include green measures along with a focus on a clearer process of pay determination and increased control over working time to improve work-life balance.
The demand for urgent action to address climate change by #YouthForClimate is supported by a broad group of trade unionists, environmentalists, energy poverty and social action campaigners that met on the eve of the 15th march Global #Strike for the Climate.
The newly published Guide for Trade Unionists on Adaptation to Climate Change and the world of work identifies public utilities and emergency and other public services as two of the sectors in the EU to be most impacted by climate change.
EPSU, Europe’s voice of 8 million pubic service unions is supporting the many actions to demand urgent actions of the UN Summit 23 September, from our governments and the European Commission and European Council.