The European Trade Union Confederation hosted trade unionists and shop stewards from across Europe active in ‘greening their workplaces’ in a dialogue with European Commissioners and representatives of business
It is clear from the ETUC’s Green Workplaces that unions are ‘first movers in environmental protection’, building momentum at the local level for shifts in corporate behaviour. As much for industrial reasons as environmentally responsible ones, workers are engaged in a variety of activities to address energy and resource efficiency and consumption.
“Twice as much is spent on resources and energy than labour costs in average European workplaces”, stated Bernadette Ségol ETUC General Secretary in opening the event, “and yet so much attention is on labour market flexibility and reduced labour costs. We need to show through practical examples – like those you are developing in your workplaces that there is a triple win in an alternative to austerity: for the economy, for the environment and most importantly for me, in maintaining and promoting the quality of work and worker participation”.
Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner László Andor stated “We know that investing more in low-carbon, resource-efficient industries is vital, but the crisis has severely affected EU investments in renewable energies. These fell by around 24% from 2008 to 2009 in the EU, while they rose by more than 50% in China. Our analysis shows that an ambitious capital investment policy could generate up to 2.8 million jobs in this sector by 2020”.
The ETUC has developed a handbook (http://www.etuc.org/a/10376 ) for practical action in the workplace to increase worker awareness on the environmental performance of their workplaces.
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