The threat facing people across the globe because of the ongoing climate emergency is not just physical – it’s economic, too.
Successive governments have not only failed to take action to reverse the damage being done to the environment, they have failed to grasp the biggest opportunity in a generation to lead an economic and industrial revolution that will distribute costs and rewards progressively, deepen economic democracy, and rebuild every part of Britain – a detailed green industrial strategy that provides the radical green jobs of the future, provides a just transition for workforces affected, and ensures the green technologies of the future are manufactured, assembled, and installed here, right across our regions and nations.
The Covid-19 crisis has also exposed and intensified the deep inequalities of both wealth and power in our country. Attacks by some ruthless employers on jobs, pay, and terms and conditions, at a time when many were at their most vulnerable, show why we need a strong trade union movement with the interests of workers at its heart.
The upcoming Unite the Union General Secretary election is therefore a huge opportunity to take our worker-led, green movement forward. That’s why I am welcoming Steve Turner’s announcement of a ‘Workers’ Greenprint for a Million Jobs’ to create full employment with millions of well-paid, skilled, and unionised green jobs, putting workers and communities at the heart of this new economy.
This Greenprint is desperately needed in our country. It would bring decent pay back to our families and communities, create good opportunities for our young people, help to reverse inequality, and fund our cash-starved public services. It would help our children to breathe fresh air – a fundamental need that so many are currently deprived of.
If elected, Steve would lead a strong, confident, green union that would fight for investment in highly-skilled, well-paid jobs, and ensure that training was available for those starting out at work through apprenticeships, and retraining for those already in work. A make and buy local strategy would support UK business and supply chains, boosting our economy and tax revenues for public services. With a union fighting to renew our national manufacturing infrastructure, we could see huge, exciting projects that would create thousands of jobs and breathe life back into so many of our areas neglected by years of no investment.
The Greenprint’s plan for jobs would tackle some of the worst problems in our society. Building a million new, zero-carbon council homes and retrofitting millions more existing houses would create thousands of new, green jobs each year, and vastly improve our energy consumption at home. As well as domestic energy, the Greenprint has a plan for big, green energy such as doubling our offshore wind turbines and investing in nuclear, tidal, solar, and hydrogen energy. Greening our heavy industry is also essential, and Steve’s plan for carbon capture and storage in our existing North Sea assets would create jobs and grow the UK’s output by nearly £3 billion.
Workers’ rights will remain front and centre of these ambitious plans. Successive governments have driven down trade union rights and put more and more power in the hands of the bosses. A Unite led by Steve Turner will fight for a new Employment Act that would put an end to fire and rehire and zero-hours contracts, strengthen our crucial collective rights at work, protect wages, enhance parental rights, and ensure workers have rights at work from day one.
Steve’s record speaks for itself. He has championed a union-led industrial strategy, Fighting for the Future of Manufacturing, all within a new, green economy that has ‘equality, social justice and sustainability at its heart’. He created Unite’s ten-point plan to create one million well paid, green jobs while strengthening the industrial and manufacturing capacity of the British economy.
I worked closely with Steve when I was Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and his passion, commitment, and dedication to Unite members was crystal clear. This climate crisis is not a job for tomorrow. We need a strong trade union leader like Steve to fight for the changes so desperately needed today. Steve Turner will fight for an economy that is fairer, greener, and cleaner for all, and that is why I urge you to vote for him in this election.