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Prepare for a just transition between Yorkshire and the Humber

Workers and communities must be involved to ensure that industrial changes are dealt with in a fair manner

Climate action and “Upgrading” is not necessarily incompatible, but workers and communities must be involved to ensure that industrial changes are dealt with in a fair manner: protecting jobs in key industries while creating thousands of good green places where they are most needed Job position.

Yorkshire and the Humber have long been one of our most important industrial powers. Even since the decline of British manufacturing, the region continues to produce materials that are vital to our economy: steel, cement, chemicals, glass, etc. This is evident in its carbon footprint: the region accounts for about 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, and nearly half of it comes from only 25 industrial sites.our New research show There are 360,000 people in the area-15% of all jobs -Work in high carbon emission industriesThis does not mean that all these jobs are at risk, but these industries will urgently need to change in ways that may affect workers.

Some industries need to support decarbonization, while protecting jobs and providing materials needed for the transition to a low-carbon economy, while other industries may need to be phased out.This must be done in a way that is fair to workers: involve them and support them in adapting to existing industries or retraining to new industries Good green job; Or compensate them when they are close to retirement. In all cases, workers and communities cannot be made worse.

Involve workers and the community in the plan is Just transition”, a term that many people have never heard of or have never heard of doubt, Worrying about this is tantamount to unemployment. In view of the past experience of transformation, mines, factories and metal processing plants across the country have been closed. Workers and unions suspect that this time will be different, which is understandable. In recent British history, there is no good example of a just transition. Now this concept has been adopted by environmental campaigns, companies and governments, but without a specific plan, it is meaningless.

We studied three case studies with different just transition challenges. The first is the Scunthorpe plant of British Steel, which emits more than 4.5 million tons of greenhouse gases per year: the British steel industry needs urgent support to achieve decarbonization and job retention, for example by proposing a green steel fund. The aviation sector directly employs 5,100 employees and indirectly employs 4,100 employees in the region, but faces the triple threat of climate change, automation and Covid-19. Finally, public transport already provides green jobs, but the average hourly income of Yorkshire bus drivers is 10-11 pounds, and the industry needs significant investment to increase employees and services, improve salaries and conditions, and make them more environmentally friendly.

Our research found that after a year of Covid-19 restrictions, the unemployment rates in Yorkshire and the Humbershire were 20% higher than the previous year. A just transition as part of a green recovery can provide safe jobs for people leaving carbon-intensive industries and at the end of the pandemic.In response to the economic impact of the pandemic, NEF has formulated proposal Through 18 months of investment in energy and transportation projects and inherent low-carbon social infrastructure such as teaching, nursing and nursing care, approximately 1.1 million jobs have been created. Recent research Friends of the Earth believes that 24,000 green apprenticeships can be created in Yorkshire and the Humber within three years to prevent long-term unemployment from causing economic trauma to young people.These jobs should be well paid, safe, unionized, accessible to all, and should be resolved Inequality in the labor market. Considering the impact on workers and communities in the UK and around the world, they should also be good and green in the entire supply chain.

So what is the fair transition between Yorkshire and the Humber? First, it must involve workers and communities. A steel worker at Liberty Steel we interviewed told us:

information [should be] Cascade upwards instead of cascading downwards. If it is bottom-up, people can really see what is happening, and they can see accountability. But at the moment… they feel helpless. ”

Really Social dialogue Cooperation with workers and communities will also provide a balance for industry-led decarbonization plans that currently attract government funding and attention. Many of the largest emitters in the region rely on the future deployment of technological solutions such as carbon capture and storage to support their business models.Over-rely on these, instead of focusing on proven and trustworthy emission reduction methods right now In the long run, both climate action and employment are at risk. Investing in renewable energy, natural restoration, public transportation, waste reduction, reconstruction of buildings and social infrastructure can create hundreds of thousands of good green jobs and healthy and sustainable communities.

We think the recently established Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission When formulating a regional climate action plan, there is an opportunity to build trust in the transformation process. It should use this opportunity to create a forum for workers to express their fears and expectations of changes that will surely affect their lives. Although the exact shape of the plan should be carefully and site-specifically designed, we believe that the government should support a just transition through a national framework including the Just Transition Fund to support decentralized regions to achieve retraining and capacity. In the process, workers and unions are established and attracted.

As Bill Adams, TUC Regional Secretary of Yorkshire and the Humbershire, said: We can revitalize towns and communities that have lost traditional industries and provide better jobs for the millions of people who depend on poverty to pay for unsecured jobs. But this can only happen when the mayor and the government establish a social partnership with the trade union. “

Picture: istock

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