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Solutions to climate emergency must improve workers' lives, trade unionists demand

SOLUTIONS to the climate and nature emergencies must also improve the lives of working people, trade unionists said over the weekend.

Socialists and activists gathered online on Saturday for the Scottish Socialist Voice Forum, discussing ways to build a mass movement to challenge the control of corporations responsible for pollution. 

Chaired by Natalie Reid of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), the meeting was held ahead of Cop26, which will be hosted in Glasgow next month. 

Ms Reid said she and her party believe the only meaningful way to tackle climate change is through policies which benefit the majority. 

She reiterated that the struggle against climate change should go hand in hand with the struggle against rising inequality and injustice. 

Among the attendees was guest speaker Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of the South African Federation of Trade Unions.

Former SSP MSP Colin Fox, as well as Sam Mason from PCS, also spoke during the event. 

They were joined by activists from across Scotland, including deputy convener of Unison Scotland Stephen Smellie. 

Mr Smellie said: “There was a time within Unison and all trade unions where the subject of climate change was not prioritised, it was not an issue at all. It was for middle-class environmentalists or tree-huggers.  

“That has changed — it is now a priority. People understand the link between the working conditions people experience, the value of their wages, and the issue of climate change and what will happen in the future, and that is real progress.”

Richie Venton, forum organiser, said: “The Voice Forum was vitally important in giving a voice to those with most to lose from global warming and the most to gain from a clean, green economy.”


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