#WeMakeTomorrow is the trade union and workers mobilisation for climate justice during COP26. It is coordinated by the Trade Union Caucus of the COP26 Coalition. See the slides for more info:
Why must workers and trade unions be visible?
While the vast majority of the people who take action for climate justice are ordinary working people supported by the majority of society, it's not always obvious. This November we will shout loud and clear that the working majority demands climate justice. On every action, this means:
Bring trade union flags and banners!
Wear work uniforms where possible!
Bring home painted t-shirts, placards and banners letting the world know your job (e.g. “Cleaners for Climate Justice", “Nurses for Climate Justice” etc)
Why should workers participate?
Workers Cannae Wait: Rewire The System
We are living through a period of multiple breaking points - from climate to covid and inequality to racism. We know that these crises not only overlap, but share the same cause.
While no one can escape the impacts of these crises, those who have done least to cause them suffer the most. Across the world, working people - especially the lowest income and communities of colour - are too often those bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. From coastal villages in Norfolk whose sea-defences are eroding faster than ever, to people living by the Niger Delta rivers blackened by oil spillage.
The crisis will not be solved if those most affected are not central to the solutions and decision-making. The impacts of the climate crisis vary across areas and communities. This means the best solutions for each area must be shaped by those who are experiencing the impacts. In many cases, indigenous and frontline communities have known the solutions for centuries. And afterall, we should all be able to participate in decisions that affect us.
System Change Not Climate Change.
The way business is organised today is at the heart of our problems. Profit driven employers are cutting costs by lowering workers pay and conditions supported by government through draconian anti-worker legislation, reducing environmental and safety protections, and raising prices for essential items like food and utilities. Our privatised infrastructure and public services - from flood defences to railways and healthcare to education - are creaking from underinvestment and failing in the face of severe weather events and climate impacts.
These economic choices mean that working people the world over are increasingly vulnerable to the environmental, economic and public health crises that are intensifying as a result of the climate crisis. And meanwhile, the carbon emissions that cause climate change - far from being your fault - are the result of this same overall economic system that is still hooked on burning fossil fuels to make profits.
So long as the production and distribution of goods and services is primarily directed by private companies in competitive markets, rather than democratic planning, profit will be put before people and the planet.
Climate, jobs and justice
Like the climate crisis, our economic and political system is human-made. This also means it can be remade. We need system change that comes from the ground up and we need to change the way we work and the kind of work that we do.
Whether we are fighting for better pay at work, for clean water, or against police violence or the opening of a new mine. For control over our bodies or to stop the destruction of forests we live in. We need climate action that works for all of us, not just the people with the most money in their pocket. To solve these problems, we have to solve them all together. Climate justice recognises that all of our struggles lead back to the same unjust system.
Just Transition Now: Good jobs and a liveable future
We need a Worker-led Just Transition – rewiring our system in a way that addresses injustices, poverty and inequalities. This means shifting away from the fossil fuel industry and investing in renewable energy to create decent unionised green jobs and services. Millions of new green jobs and apprenticeships can be created in obvious areas like public transport, retrofitting housing and planting trees, simultaneously addressing the post-Covid rise in unemployment.
Rewiring the system must centre and value care work that is currently done predominantly by unpaid or underpaid women, migrants and people of colour - from health care to housework. To enable a more resilient society that is better able to adapt to the climate crisis means a massive public investment in low-carbon, socially essential work such as health and social care, education, welfare, food supply and our emergency services.
But these new infrastructures and services can’t only be built in the Global North with resource extraction and human rights abuses in the Global South. Local and global justice must be at the heart of this transition, through publicly-owned energy systems, expansion of care services, locally-sourced food, and green and affordable housing and public transport. And it means a new deal for all workers, lifting workers out of poverty and insecurity, with an expansion of unionisation, new workers rights, a shorter working week and improved pay and conditions.
Justice won’t be handed to us by world leaders or delivered by corporations. Only we can imagine and build the future that works for all of us. The transformative solutions that we need to survive and build a more just and fair world can only be brought about through collective action, solidarity and coordination, from our local communities and international levels.
Wherever you are in the world, now is the time to join the fight for climate justice. We need all hands on deck: in workplaces, communities, schools, hospitals and across national borders.
Working people create the world’s wealth and make the world turn. History shows us that when working people have united together in trade unions, this has been one of the most powerful forms of people-power able to challenge the power of big money. The mobilisations around COP26 are an opportunity to show that the world’s workforce are standing strong in the movement for climate justice, joining unions and ready to use our power as working people to win the globally fair and worker-led justice transition we urgently need.
What about Covid, safety and the law?
It is important that we keep ourselves and those around us as safe as possible during these protests. For this reason, whilst we are still in a global pandemic, we ask all participants to:
Wear a mask if possible
Remain socially distanced if possible
Get vaccinated and/or tested if possible.
However, we also must remember that we have a right - even a duty - to protest and that these protests are entirely lawful.
Despite this, the police have an imperfect understanding of their duty to facilitate lawful protests. International summits make them nervous and inclined to rash responses. Be vigilant at all times and look out for yourself and other people. Report any arrests or police misbehaviour to legal observers and to support organisations. Remember Scots Law is different to that in England & Wales.
For Scotland: https://www.scottishactivistlegalproject.co.uk/