Working Australians want to do their bit to tackle the problem of climate change and unions believe it is important they are given a say in their workplace, including to create greener workplaces.

It is beyond doubt that climate change is a pre-eminent challenge that faces the world.

The scientific evidence is overwhelming and no longer in dispute:

  • Human economic activity is causing global warming.
  • The present and future rise in global temperature is significant and severe 
  • Today’s emissions will affect climate for decades to come.
  • Global warming will have profound economic and social consequences. Environment, economy and society are the three faces of policy solutions – integrated and inseparable – in any program of sustainable global development.

    The union movement understands the challenge of climate change and wants to ensure workers can be part of the solution through creating greener and more environmentally-friendly workplaces.

    At the recent ACTU National Executive in March 2008, agreed on a set of priorities for workplaces campaigns and one of the priority campaigns is to ensure workers have a stronger say over any changes in their workplaces that affect their work and job security.

    This will include giving workers a stronger say over measures in their workplace to tackle climate change.
    In this way, unions want to support their members, and all working Australians to create greener workplaces and to ensure that businesses help deal with the problem of climate change.

    This is an issue that affects all Australian people and indeed the entire globe. We need to change our homes and how we live, and also our workplaces and the wider economy if we are to properly deal with the challenge of climate change.

    Unions are committed to promoting industry policy and investment in clean, green and sustainable economic opportunities.  The battle against climate change must be waged on all fronts, and the time to do it is now.

    The ACTU Executive resolution states:

    4.5    Consultation on workplace change, and workforce participation in relation to climate change solutions.

    Communications and consultation at work enhances workplace productivity and ensures workers have a say over decisions that affect them at work.  Unions will bargain to require employers to consult with the workers and their unions where the employer has decided to introduce changes at work that will affect the performance of work and/or job security.

    Every citizen and enterprise across Australia is affected by climate change.  If Australia is to play its part in solving climate change there will be both opportunities and adjustment within many sectors of the economy.  These changes will affect employees and their families as citizens and as workers.

    Regardless of the sector, all enterprises should identify and evaluate the risks and opportunities that climate change presents and develop plans to participate in adjustments necessary to address climate change.

    Unions will campaign to ensure that employees and their unions are engaged and consulted in the development of strategies within enterprises and industries associated with adjustments required to address climate change and the introduction of emissions targets and carbon trading schemes.

    The ACTU has also updated its Global Warming policy paper to take account of the recent changes to the policy and political direction of Australia on climate change, including the historic first step of the Rudd Labor Government in ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.

    The ACTU’s Global Warming policy paper is attached.