Monthly Archives: February 2020

Form a climate trade union?

By Adi, 7 Feb 2020

(Please note: posts on these blog pages are the personal views of the authors only and are not intended to represent any agreed or general view on the part of

I would like to know if anyone is interested in helping to form a kind of climate trade union. 
Jot me an email back if you want to know more:
The premise/logic is as follows:
To EFFECTIVELY lever the changes needing to be taken by Government MEANS  more civil disobedience by more people is necessary (above what XR has achieved so far) . This leaves us with the challenge of:  How can protest expand without alienating support?
One idea is establishing a dedicated climate trade union. Trade unions  are a traditional format of civil disobedience but one which workers, companies and government respect, so workers can protest without fear of losing their jobs etc.
If anyone would be interested in becoming part of the core group to try to set up this Union with the government’s “certification officer” as an officially “listed” trade union, then please email me on and we will be forming a working group on this avenue. I’ve done preliminary work to make a starting point for discussion.

6 advantages (as I see it) of the Trade Union idea:

* Pre-empts crackdown on protest rights by new government (an insurance policy)
* Legitimizes people who are uncomfortable with existing form of protest , allows them to join
* Allows workers to protest without fear of losing  job (employers must allow industrial action)
* Reduces criticism that protesters don’t work/rich/on benefits etc. (“Get a job” haggles)
* Facilitates adults to join “Fridays for the Future” kids (uncomfortable joining kids otherwise)
* Make a LOCAL economic “unproductive day” – a strike – in each local area (e.g. one Friday/month to begin). Make demands upon local companies to become Carbon Neutral.

So the idea is that there is a dedicated carbon-neutral trade union (unlike wide workers’ rights remit of usual unions) to convince more companies to become carbon neutral and that the workers can join this trade union to tell their employers in a friendly way to change. BUT that’s just the soft idea behind it, the real strong point is that, if it worked as a pilot in Stroud and went nationwide, if enough people joined, the union could do a “pledge” online saying, for example: if 1 million people “pledge” then we will all not work that day. Withholding our work services can damage the economy and force government to make stronger carbon decisions. They get a legitimate day off – don’t have to go to the streets (which some people are uncomfortable with) but can sit at home and have an impact (or go on the streets or have a modern interactive Picketing event system online). The word “strike” should be replaced and I think we should coin the term “withhold” as a substitute. It avoids old triggers, conjures deliberate conscious withdrawal of a good thing – like we are the parent withdrawing and punishing the government for not behaving well enough, and we are also empowered by our choice to withdraw services to the country.