Just Transition: Unions vital to net-zero plans, says Metro Mayor

At a discussion with trade union ‘green reps’, Metro Mayor Dan Norris vowed to work with unions to ensure a just transition to a “greener, cleaner and fairer” West of England economy.

The Metro Mayor made the comments after talks with union environmental or ‘green’ reps on embedding the green agenda in the workplace held with workers from Unite, Unison, Public and Commercial Services Union and GMB, during his second Jobs and Skills summit.

Just as unions and employers work together to improve health and safety in the workplace, green reps are appointed to champion environmental issues.

The Mayor heard how currently, there is no legal rights for green reps with the same time to fulfil their duties and support other reps have, with several attendees present explaining to the Metro Mayor how the law as it stands is lagging behind best practice.

But Mr Norris also heard how green reps are nevertheless working with employers to drive workplace projects making the region’s workplaces more sustainable, such as waste reduction, recycling and energy saving projects, and leading calls for a “just transition” to a zero-carbon economy.

They all discussed how the West of England Combined Authority, led by the Metro Mayor, is already making sure people do not lose out as their lives and livelihoods are transformed in the fight against the climate crisis, including through backing 23,000 new green jobs for the region.

According to the Metro Mayor, the role of green reps will be vital to ensuring a “real just transition” for West of England workers. He said: “As the West of England looks to reach our ambitious net-zero target, we need to ensure every worker whose job might change is front and centre of the really important changes we bring. The role of green reps is and will continue to be vital in bringing about that real just transition we need. These workers might not have been on the podium at Cop26, but they are among the world’s real climate leaders, helping ensure a greener, cleaner and fairer West of England economy for us all”.

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