Combating climate change will increasingly impact on production industries and the workers they employ as production changes and consumption is targeted. Yet research has largely ignored labour and its responses. This book brings together sociologists, psychologists, political scientists, historians, economists, and representatives from international and local unions based in Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Taiwan, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA. Together they open up a new area of research: Environmental Labour Studies.
The authors ask what kind of environmental policies are unions in different countries and sectors developing. How do they aim to reconcile the protection of jobs with the protection of the environment? What are the forms of cooperation developing between trade unions and environmental movements, especially the so-called Red-Green alliances? Under what conditions are unions striving to create climate change policies that transcend the economic system? Where are they trying to find solutions that they see as possible within the present socio-economic conditions? What are the theoretical and practical implications of trade unions’ "Just Transition", and the problems and perspectives of "Green Jobs"? The authors also explore how food workers’ rights would contribute to low carbon agriculture, the role workers’ identities play in union climate change policies, and the difficulties of creating solidarity between unions across the global North and South.
Trade Unions in the Green Economy opens the climate change debate to academics and trade unionists from a range of disciplines in the fields of labour studies, environmental politics, environmental management, and climate change policy. It will also be useful for environmental organisations, trade unions, business, and politicians.