Barnet UNISON branch thinks it’s important to bridge the gap between the call for #ClimateChangeStrike #20Sept and how the causes of #ClimateChange are directly impacting on the health and wellbeing of our members.
Trade Unions have a long history of taking up health and safety issues on behalf of their members.
It’s important that the campaign to deal with #ClimateChange doesn’t treat it as an abstract issue that affects someone else.
The causes of #ClimateChange are real and are already having an effect in workplaces all over the world.
Our branch has already begun discussions with Barnet Council about air pollution and we are due to meet later this month.
In the meantime we are beginning conversations with our members via leaflets, online videos which we are posting on our social media sites and in our weekly eNews communication.
Here are two very simple but effective videos made by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
What does Air Pollution PM 2.5 do inside children’s body and brain?
“Breathe Life – How air pollution impacts your body” World Health Organisation (WHO)
Earlier this month our branch executive passed a motion entitled:
End the causes of Climate Change – a Call for Urgent Action and Solidarity which you can read here:
Please sign our End the causes of Climate Change Petition now 👇👇👇👇👇
This is an Emergency Please sign our Petition now
End the causes of Climate Change – a Call for Urgent Action and Solidarity Motion.
- The Earth’s temperature has already risen by 1 degree above pre-industrial levels. The IPCC report last autumn warned that we only have 12 years to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees. Carbon emissions need to be cut by 45% by 2030, and reach zero carbon by 2050 in order to avoid a dangerous tipping point.
- Air Pollution is the number one cause of deaths from environmental impacts resulting in the premature deaths of 40,000 citizens and an economic cost of £54 billion.
- The UK Government has been taken to the European Court by Client Earth over its failure to act on illegal air pollution levels and the Government has lost its case which means it must now act.
- A large number of our members work outdoors and are regularly exposed to air pollution.
- The tremendous impact of the school students strikes in shifting government complacency over climate change forcing them to amend the 2008 Climate Change act.
- Greta Thunberg’s call for a climate strike and for adults and workers to join the global school students strike on the 20th September which will begin a week of action on climate.
- The solidarity strikes organised by trade unions in Belgium and France.
- Climate change is a trade union issue.
- Our members have the right to work in a safe environment and for any associated risks to be mitigated.
- Our Council needs to do more to protect our members in the face of the Climate Emergency.
- More broadly the future of our planet is at risk if we don’t organise now to force governments’ to cut emissions in line with the IPCC report.
- That taxing the very wealthy and closing tax loopholes in line with Labour Party manifesto commitments will meet the cost of cutting emissions by 50%.
- That we must keep the pressure up. The school students have led the way but the trade union movement as a whole must now act to ensure that they don’t fight alone.
- To commits the branch into entering urgent negotiations with Barnet Council and other employers in order to identify the following:
- The risks to the health and wellbeing of workers regularly exposed to air pollution.
- What measures/protection can be put in place to mitigate the hard of air pollution?
- What health checks can be made available to workers regularly exposed to air pollution?
- The branch contacts our union to ascertain any possible legal claims for injury at work as a result of regular expose to air pollution.
- To back the call for a climate strike on 20 September
- To support the call by the UCU for the TUC to organise a 30 minute workday solidarity stoppage to coincide with the global school student strike on the 20th
- To call upon our national executive to support the UCU’s motion at this year’s TUC congress calling for a 30 minute workday stoppage.
- For our branch to argue for and call a stoppage on the 20th September and for our branch to campaign for the maximum possible show of solidarity with school students 20th
On Tuesday 30 July 2019, 7pm in Hendon Town Hall, Barnet Council will vote on a proposal that in will restrict Barnet residents’ ability to ask questions and speak at future Council Committee meetings.
The London Borough of Barnet has a wealth of community activism which includes Barnet Bloggers (Mr Reasonable, Mrs Angry, Mr Mustard and Barnet Eye) and Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) to name just a few.
Their contributions over the last decade have largely been supportive of the services our members provide.
However, their contribution to future committees will virtually cease if the proposed rule change is passed at Full Council on 30 July 2019.
Barnet residents have responded by setting up a petition entitled “Stop Barnet Council From Gagging Residents”
You and read and sign in solidarity by clicking on this link here
Barnet UNISON is asking members to show solidarity by joining Barnet residents on Tuesday 30 July outside Hendon Town Hall from 6 pm onwards.
Barnet UNISON has a large number of members some of whom work outside for all of their time or a large part of their time in work.
The dangers of air pollution has become increasingly more worrying, numerous reports have produced data that show dangerous levels of toxins in the air.
The Times Newspaper recently published an article entitled:
“London air pollution mapped: how does your child’s school compare?”
“An analysis of 2,000 school sites shows that pupils at every school in the capital are exposed to an annual average higher than 10 micrograms per cubic metre, the level recommended by the World Health Organisation.”
Barnet UNISON downloaded the data and discovered 91 Barnet schools had been exposed to air pollution which exceeded the recommended limits by the World Health Organisation.
You can download the spreadsheet by clicking the link below
The following are a series of questions that our branch is seeking answers to.
- What toxic chemicals are in the air?
- What do these toxic chemicals do to our bodies?
- What health issues can these toxins cause?
- What health checks can be carried out now to test the impact of toxins in the air?
- Which NHS service is able to carry out health checks on the impact of air pollution?
- Will wearing some type of face mask or other protective equipment help mitigate the impact of air pollution?
- Will wearing some type of face mask or other protective equipment be better than no mask at all?
- Who is ultimately responsible for air pollution in London?
- Should the employer be responsible for carrying out risk assessments for any of their staff exposed to dangerous toxins in the air?
- What measures should the employer take to ensure staff do not suffer any ill health problems due to working outside and breathing in toxins in the air?
- Should the employer provide staff with some type of face mask or other protective equipment from the toxins in the air?
- Should the employer provide some type of health checks for staff regularly exposed to air pollution?
If you have answers to these questions please email the branch on firstname.lastname@example.org