The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) today congratulated Royal Mail in signing up to the Guardian’s 10:10 campaign (Guardian Letters), but Royal Mail intends to use 24,000 more motor vehicles next year (in place of bikes and posties on foot), and stopped moving post by rail six years ago. What could possibly force Royal Mail to forget about cutting costs, and start thinking about cutting carbon emissions?
The deputy general secretary of the CWU called on Royal Mail to support the union initiative ‘Climate Solidarity’, which aims ‘to achieve reductions in carbon emissions through collective workplace action that will establish a model for climate change engagement that can be replicated across the union movement.’ (Climate Solidarity – supported by PCS, CWU and others) – this turns out to mean persuading union branches to reduce waste in their workplaces and their personal lives. Climate Solidarity has been given £700,000 by Defra, now the Department for Energy and Climate Change.
Though initiatives like Climate Solidarity could be seen as a good start, we can’t expect a government-funded initiative, calling on the kindness of bosses, to make even a small fraction of the social and industrial changes needed to tackle climate change.
The CWU are currently balloting for a strike over threats to job security – they need to make demands that go above and beyond redundancy threats – they need to oppose the whole logic of cost-cutting in the name of maximising profit. They need to propose an alternative plan which will provide jobs in the labour-intensive task of cutting carbon emissions – and pursue it using their industrial power, and the knowledge of the industry that they possess.