Building wider climate action for 29 November

Submitted by Zac Muddle on 21 November, 2019 - 12:14 Author: Misha Zubrowski
Placard reading "There is no Planet B"

The next global youth climate strike is planned for Friday 29 November. In dozens of towns and cities across the UK, from hundreds of schools, and in hundreds of cities around the world, millions of school students and young people will be taking a stand against climate change.

It will be the first international climate strike since 20 September. There have been multiple strikes over the last year. On 20 September there was a call for workers to join students, and in several workplaces they did.

This was an important step towards the workplace environmental activism which we need. We need to build on that, on 29 November, and more broadly.

The initiative of Solidarity supporters and UCU members in Cambridge, described on this page, is an important model.

Lambeth council workers and Unison members have created another.

Workplace and environmental activists demanded of the council that they take no punitive action and deduct no pay for participating in the climate strike: for holding a rally at lunchtime then marching to join a wider march. The council, under pressure, partly acquiesced.

The activists leafleted different sections of the council workforce in the run up to the climate strike. As a result of this, they got a turn out of perhaps fifty workers.

They formed a workplace climate committee and lobbied for it to be recognised by their employer, the council. They have even won facility time, time paid by their employer for members to work on the union climate committee rather than in their regular jobs.

The climate committee has been working on environmental demands. Most employees work in one set of offices, which is a new-build and pretty energy efficient day-to-day.

However, the committee is pressuring the council to provide free meeting space and otherwise support environmental activists. It has, seemingly with some success, made environmental demands around new council house-building.

One Lambeth council worker-activist told me that, largely due to the general election, they have not been able to mobilise as much for the 29 November as they did for 20 September, and do not expect so big a turnout. But they will use it to build for future strikes.

They will also be releasing a series of videos about the international impacts of climate change. Their workforce has a high proportion of migrants.

Many other actions took place on 20 September. One that struck me as a creative way of encouraging and amplifying engagement was a video that some transport workers or apprentices made, coupled with a small demonstration.

If after all it looks like no collective action will take place on 29 November where you work, then there are lots of other important ways of supporting the development of these strikes! First of all, take the day off work, where possible, and join the protests.

UCU strikes will be running from 25 November to 4 December at 60 universities. That includes 29 November. Get in contact with UCU branches and student strike-solidarity link-ups, as well as climate strikers. They generally welcome support and suggestions!

School students could come up to campuses and do rallies there.

Encourage UCU branches and student strike solidarity groups to hold banner making sessions specifically on this focus. They should plan to go down to the city-wide climate rallies from the picket lines.

In the last major UCU strikes many branches and solidarity groups collaborated and held “teach-outs”. Socialist environmentalists should propose teach-outs themed on the environment, some featuring or led by school climate strikers.

These could be linked to education, to class-struggle environmentalism, and beyond.

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