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Date: 24 November 2009

Climate change is a health and safety issue for the planet – trade unions call for strong Copenhagen deal

Scottish trade unions will warn today (Tue 24 Nov) that climate change is an urgent health and safety issue for the planet and its people, and called on world leaders to reach a strong deal in Copenhagen.

The are also urging their members to support The Wave, Scotland’s largest ever climate change demonstration, in Glasgow on Saturday 5 December.

Scottish Trade Union Congress General Secretary Grahame Smith will say it is vital that the UN talks in Copenhagen in December (7th-18th) secure an ambitious, just and legally binding deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

He will join UNISON’s Scottish Secretary Matt Smith and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) Chair Mike Robinson in leading a Mexican Wave with around 80 people at UNISON’s staff conference, to support The Wave event.

The family friendly ‘Wave’ demonstration is organised by SCCS, the largest civil society coalition since Make Poverty History in 2005.

Similar events are being run in London and around the world to show the strength of public support for a strong UN climate deal.

Grahame Smith will say: “Climate change is a trade union issue – an urgent health and safety issue for the planet and its people.

“Trade unionists internationally want world leaders to agree a deal that is fair to developing countries, whose people are already being hit the hardest, and fair to working people by ensuring a just transition to a low carbon future. That is why our members will be supporting The Wave.”

Matt Smith will say: “UNISON Scotland worked hard with other members of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland to lobby for the world leading Scottish Climate Change Act that we hope will be an example to other countries at these crucial talks.

“Trade unions also want to see action on climate change in every workplace across Scotland.”

Mike Robinson will say: “The Wave on Dec 5th promises to be a great demonstration of support for a strong climate deal in Copenhagen and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland welcomes trade union support.

“We want to encourage thousands of people across Scotland to join us and send a clear message to world leaders at these crucial talks.

“We need a safe planet for people to live on. It is vital that other industrialised nations share Scotland’s ambition by making substantial cuts to their greenhouse gas emissions. We have a responsibility to protect the poorest and those most affected and that means committing to fair and fast action to prevent dangerous climate change.”

ends

Notes to Editors: The Wave will start at 11am in Bellahouston Park on 5 December, with a march to Kelvingrove Park where there will be a rally with live music, speakers, face-painting, kite-making and stalls. Full details on The Wave are at: www.the-wave.org.uk/scotland ‘Mexican Wave’ videos showing supporters of The Wave are at: http://the-wave.org.uk

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) is a diverse and growing alliance with over 60 Scottish members representing more than two million supporters, ranging from environment and international development groups (SCIAF, Oxfam, WWF, etc) to faith organisations, trade unions, student societies, care providers and many more (see www.stopclimatechaos.org/scotland).

UN Copenhagen Climate Change Summit: world leaders will agree a new international climate deal that will come into force when the first phase of the Kyoto treaty expires in 2012. The STUC/Scottish Government 2009 communiqué on climate change is at: www.stuc.org.uk/news/643/stuc-and-scottish-government-issue-joint-communique-on-climate-change

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