Time is Running Out: Climate Emergency Strike 20 September

This Friday from 11 am a rally in Portsmouth Guildhall Square will take place as part of a global strike calling for urgent action to address the existential threat of climate change.

On Tuesday 10 September the Trade Union Congress, representing 6.2 million workers in the UK, passed a motion from the University and College Union (UCU) calling for ‘a 30-minute workday campaign action to coincide with the global school strike on 20 September’.

Jo Grady, UCU General Secretary, said in supporting the motion, ‘This signifies real support for the efforts of the school strikers and is a chance for workers to show we are behind them.’

This follows the call from Greta Thunberg and other school student climate strikers for adults around the world to strike with them on 20 September ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit in New York on 23 September.

Portsmouth Trade Union Council and Portsmouth City UNISON are backing action and are calling for trade union members to join students at the lunchtime rally in the Guildhall Square.

Following a request from Portsmouth City UNISON, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, has emailed all the council’s employees saying they can request to take time off from their normal duties to attend the rally. Many council workers have already decided they will attend the rally in their lunch break. The UCU at University of Portsmouth has called on its members to support the rally and other trade unions intend to bring delegations and their banners.

‘We expect to see large numbers of trade union members coming out to join school, college and university students in the Guildhall Square,’ said Jon Woods, Chair of Portsmouth City UNISON Branch and Portsmouth Trade Union Council. ‘We are asking them to make 12-12.30 pm the priority so we have the maximum number of people to show solidarity with the climate strikers. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned a year ago that we only have 12 years to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees. Boris Johnson and Donald Trump are more concerned with looking after the profits of their fossil fuel big business friends than tackling climate change. The action on 20 September is so important because it is part of a growing international movement to force governments to make climate change their overriding priority.’

The leaders of all the main opposition parties in Westminster have backed the climate strikes. An early day motion tabled in the Commons by the Green MP, Caroline Lucas, and supported by the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and the leaders of the Scottish National party, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrats, said urgent action was needed to tackle the climate crisis and called on adults to join children on the streets on 20 September.

On Wednesday Amnesty International joined the call, asking head teachers around the world to let their pupils join the 20 September school climate strike, expected to be the biggest yet.

For more information contact Jon Woods on 07921 775828.

Image by Tim Sheerman-Chase used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.