Just Transition must be at the heart of the Government's Climate Action Plan - ICTU Energy Sector Committee

17 Jun 2019

Climate Change No Jobs on a Dead Planet

The Government’s new Climate Action Plan must comply fully with the principles and practice of Just Transition if it is to succeed and generate broad support, unions representing energy sector workers said today (June 17).

Responding to reports on the content of the new Climate Action Plan, Jim Dullaghan, chair of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ Energy Sector Committee said: “Any plan to tackle climate change must ensure that workers are not disadvantaged or communities left worse off as a result. The principles and practice of a Just Transition have to be at the heart of the government’s plan.

The Congress Energy Sector Committee is comprised of unions with membership in energy generation and natural resources sector.

“Workers and their communities are fully supportive of the transition to a low carbon economy and of the need to take action on climate change: but they need to know where they stand in relation to current and possible future employment and in relation to the protection of living standards.

“Likewise, communities in which energy plants and generating activities are located need specific details on how climate action policy will affect their future,” Mr. Dullaghan said.

“In that respect, any detailed plan on Climate Action must address both potential jobs losses across the sector and the creation of replacement employment opportunities. Workers and their families have to see a clear road map from one to the other and be assured that every effort will be made to protect standards of living and to create decent, replacement jobs.

“That’s what is meant by a Just Transition and now we need to see how that will happen in practice. The new Climate Action Plan needs to spell out how and when such measures, supports, and resources will be put in place.

“Trade unions are consistent in their support for the transition to a low carbon economy and on the necessity to ensure there is a Just Transition.

“But if it becomes clear that the transition will result in economic loss and devastation, support for the process among workers and their communities will be short-lived,” Mr. Dullaghan said.

“This applies to the implementation of a Carbon Tax, to proposals on retrofitting and the renewable sector. Our own assessment shows that there is huge job creation potential in some of these areas, but they will require investment and support. The official plan needs to spell that out.”

He said the Congress Energy Sector Group would study the government’s new plan and would issue a detailed response and assessment shortly.

The Congress Report on Just Transition is available here.