Green Party Conference Updates
Jean Lambert MEP opened the Green Party conference with the launch of a new report, Green Work on the potential for new jobs and industries created by the need for a move to a lower carbon economy. The report also highlights how the current British Government is failing on green jobs and skills -
The publication calls for greater investment in green industries and skills for workers to help transform the UK to a low-carbon economy.
The new research has found that there is huge potential for job creation in green industries like wind and solar power, which is not yet being exploited. The report also warns of a skills gap in the UK which will hold back our ability to capitalise on the green revolution unless it is addressed now.
The UK is currently lagging far behind its European neighbours in terms of green jobs. For instance, in Germany there are currently 250,000 jobs in renewable energy, while in the UK there are 26,000 at best.
New Green Party leader Caroline Lucas added her voice to Trade Union calls for a windfall tax on the mammoth energy industry profits. More here.
In response to the profiteering of the "robber baron" energy corporations Dr Lucas proposed a Green New Deal -
"When the world faced economic depression back in the early 1930s, it was President Roosevelt's New Deal that got people back to work with a massive investment in infrastructure.
"Today we stand on the brink of a triple crisis – a combination of a credit-fuelled financial meltdown, accelerating climate change, and soaring energy prices.
"We need a Green New Deal in response.
"The core would be a 21st century project to make the nation's buildings truly energy efficient, with local authority bonds being issued to raise the necessary funds for a major investment in insulation, efficiency and renewables, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process.
The Green Party Trade Union Group backed motion on the minimum wage was passed in an amended form - see here
The motion committed the Party to campaign -
"A. for the immediate ending of the British opt-out of the European Working Time Directive;
B. for the National Minimum Wage level to be increased to come in line with the Council of Europe Decency Threshold, which is set at 60% of net national average earnings (this would currently mean a minimum wage of £8.17 per hour);
C. a new top rate of income tax to be levied on incomes over 10 times the National Minimum Wage"
Union Workplace Environmental Reps
Another motion supported by GPTU and Green Left was on workplace environmental reps.
MOTION PASSED AT GREEN PARTY CONFERENCE 6/9/2008
"Trade Unions and their branches will have the right to establish workplace environmental representatives, who will have the same rights at work as other trade union representatives. This will include appropriate facilities and time off to undertake their duties. Such representatives should play a decision making role in the development of strategies and implementation plans for making workplaces, companies and other public, private and third sector organisations greener and more
(This text to be inserted in the Manifesto for a Sustainable Society, the main GP policy document)
The TUC guide on "greening your workplace" is here.