In September 2017 TUC Congress took the historic step of unanimously passing a motion on climate change, noting that it is “..driving unprecedented changes to our environment”.
The motion blamed “..incoherent UK government policy” for “..undermining measures to achieve the UK carbon reduction targets.”.
TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady’s statement of 5th June 2018 seems to be equally incoherent in calling for an immediate go ahead to building a third Heathrow airport runway. She advocates this because it “will create thousands of high-quality jobs and apprenticeships” and claims this will benefit local communities.
Levels of air pollution, noise pollution and associated diseases are already high around Heathrow. Those who suffer most from this are the workers in the airport, workers in its associated industries, and often their families, if they live nearby. Heathrow expansion will increase pollution and increase the number of people exposed to it.
As well as this, Heathrow expansion is will increase greenhouse gas emissions which are already exceeding UK government reduction targets.
Attempting to insist that the possible new jobs will be ‘high quality’ and paid a living wage, although a justified aim for Trades Unionists, is hardly adequate compensation for the global and local damage that is likely to be caused.
It is sad that Frances O’Grady did not take the opportunity to advocate alternatives such as the 1 million climate jobs proposals of the Campaign Against Climate Change. Thousands of high-quality jobs and apprenticeships could also be created by promoting and developing low carbon technologies and infrastructure. Furthermore, the associated community benefits need not be confined to the relatively affluent South East.
The TUC should be living up to its aim “to make the working world a better place for everyone”, not advocating retrograde proposals such as Heathrow expansion.
CONTACT: P.MURRY, LONDON GREEN PARTY TRADE UNION LIAISON OFFICER PP : THE GREEN PARTY TRADE UNION GROUP.
EMAIL : YRRUMUK@GOOGLEMAIL.COM TEL.07736525187