Trade unions call for ‘new social contract’ to drive energy transition

(EurActiv, 26 Sep 2019) The transition to a climate neutral economy will have a massive impact on all sectors and their workforce. But trade unions believe a “new social contract” can help engage workers in the transformation, and push the transition forward instead of holding it back.

“The new social contract is about engaging people, including them in the planning process when it comes to implementing the transition needed to fight the climate crisis,” says Alison Tate, from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

It also implies “making sure that the process is not imposed” on workers and people, said Tate, who is director of economic and social policy at ITUC, an international federation which brings together some 300 trade unions located in 160 different countries.

“This is where climate justice and social justice go hand in hand,” she told EURACTIV on the sidelines of the United Nations climate action summit in New York.

According to Tate, such a new social contract means involving workers in the transformation of their own working environment.

“It’s a basic community principle,” Tate said. “When you let employees participate in the planning process, they will not fear the transition, they will push it forward”.

According to ITUC, the world currently faces historic levels of inequality, fuelled by a failed model of globalisation, increased conflict and military spending, displacement of people at unprecedented levels, as well as a climate crisis and massive disruption from technology.

It says the only way to achieve a successful transition to environmental sustainability is to build social consensus by ensuring workers are part of the plan.

External link

EurActiv, 26 Sep 2019: Trade unions call for ‘new social contract’ to drive energy transition