Reps discuss greening our industries

BECTU has had its first, union-wide discussion about its potential contribution to eco-friendly policy.

Delegates to BECTU’s Annual Conference who attended the How Green Are our Industries? workshop were treated to an opening presentation from TUC Green Workplaces project leader, Caroline Molloy, about the TUC’s significant work on this issue.

In Caroline’s presentation slides [175k pdf] several case studies are cited to demonstrate the benefits of union/management cooperation on this issue.

“80% believe BECTU has a role in persuading employers to adopt more environmentally friendly ways of working”

The Green Workplaces project is a joint TUC and Carbon Trust initative aimed at raising awareness of climate change issues and delivering measurable carbon cuts at pilot workplaces. Union reps from the participating unions are provided with specific training to help with their part in the project.

Most of the employers with whom BECTU deals have adopted environmental policies. The level of active commitment varies from employer to employer as does the involvement of staff in pushing the policy forward.

A survey of BECTU members posted prior to conference reveals that more than 80 per cent of those who took part believe that BECTU has a role to play in persuading employers to adopt more environmentally friendly ways of working; 50 per cent of respondents would like to see the union rep role extended to take account of environmental issues.

However the survey does sound a note of caution: several members are anxious that any involvement by BECTU in environmental issues should not detract from the union’s core responsibilities relating to members’ terms and conditions and representation.

Two other workshops took place at Annual Conference.

One session, and easily the most popular, discussed the role of American-style union busters and their impact on BECTU’s areas of organisation.

The other session focussed on the challenges across several parts of the union represented by the 2012 Olympics.

A full report on Annual Conference, including all three workshops, will be published in the June issue of the union’s journal Stage Screen and Radio.

Tuesday 27 May 2008