IndustriAll Europe’s Executive Committee has agreed on a European campaign for a Just Transition for industrial workers.
The campaign will kick-off with a coordinated, European-wide mobilisation from 25 October - 10 November 2021. Member organisations will hold a variety of national campaigns and events. These will be accompanied by intensified political lobbying at EU level and a pan-European social media campaign. Beyond the two-week action, a series of sectoral round table discussions will be organised at regional level and there will be joint actions with IndustriALL Global in connection with COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.
Why now? The European Union is getting ready to apply the measures it has agreed to reach climate neutrality (in its Fit for 55 package) and further proposals are expected in December. Climate policies will be rolled out across the continent at the same time. IndustriAll Europe’s members have therefore decided that the time to step up our fight for a stronger social dimension to climate policies across Europe is now!
Why are we mobilising? Reaching climate neutrality by 2050 requires steep emission cuts, starting in the coming decade. Investment cycles mean that the technology choices for 2050 in many of our sectors will be made before 2030. Given the number of jobs at stake and the magnitude of the ongoing transformation, social disruption due to a badly managed transition might severely undermine the ability of the European Green Deal to succeed and will do long-term damage to our economies and societies. Since Europe’s Green Deal is a deliberate political intervention into market forces, Europe’s politicians have a direct responsibility for delivering a Just Transition framework for the affected workers and regions that manages decarbonisation while preventing deindustrialisation.
Defending the interests of industrial workers. The question is not ‘if’ but ‘how’ to decarbonise our industries to make sure that no worker and no region is left behind. Only a strong voice of industrial workers in the transition process can ensure this. The political platform decided by the members of the industriAll Europe Executive Committee spells out our concrete demands:
- Resources: Preparing workers for the transitions requires adequate investment. More money is needed to support job-to-job transitions, for re-training and upskilling programmes. The size of the Just Transition Fund currently does not match the challenge.
- Mapping of employment consequences. Without understanding where exactly the workers impacted are, reskilling and upskilling programmes cannot be tailored to ensure job-to-job transitions. This analysis must be conducted by public authorities in coordination with social partners.
- Anticipation of change and social dialogue for all workers: In 2013, the European Parliament proposed a European legal framework on the anticipation and the management of change – this should be created to ensure workers have the right to co-decide the transition in their workplaces and regions, strengthening social dialogue and collective bargaining.
- A toolbox of rights to ensure that transitions are smooth for individual workers: Active labour market policies must address the urgency for education and training. Reskilling and upskilling must be ensured to equip workers for jobs within and between transforming industries. Every worker, regardless of their contract, must have the right to quality training and life-long learning.
- Policy cooperation and exchange of good practices: A Just Transition will happen locally in regional economies and workplaces, but there is much that can be framed by common policy objectives and the exchange of good practices. For example, the Just Transition Platform should be extended to cover all the sectors impacted by the European Green Deal.