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UCATT aims to green learning, workplaces, communities and our own union. Climate change will affect us all and we believe that tackling it is both a vital and urgent task for all trade unionists. As well as being good for the environment, going green is also good for the economy, good for businesses and good for UCATT. 

Pursuing a sustainable construction agenda will provide economic and environmental benefits including:

  • Reduced energy use;
  • Innovation in building management, technologies and policy;
  • Protection of our natural and social environment;
  • A healthy and comfortable living environment;
  • Success for developers and occupiers;
  • Opportunities for training, retraining, up-skilling and employment for our members; and
  • Energy security for generations to come.

UCATT members will benefit because:

  • Making workplaces sustainable saves money and helps to create green, sustainable jobs;
  • Environmental improvements in workplaces can make them safer and healthier, by maximising natural daylight, using less hazardous materials, improving heating and ventilation controls and improving air quality for example; and
  • UCATT’s involvement in the green agenda will bring new members and representatives into the union. Unions need to be seen as modern and relevant organisations that deal with the big issues of the day. You don't get much bigger or more important than global climate change.

At national level UCATT is calling on the government to increase investment in green building technologies, sustainable materials and zero-carbon housing. It must:

  • Create confidence and the right environment for employers to invest in infrastructure and skills for the manufacturing of environmental goods and services;
  • Encourage all employers to invest in best practice training for low-carbon construction;
  • Create a partnership agenda to support routes into the low-carbon construction industry for young people, women and black and ethnic minorities; and
  • Ensure that UCATT has a signatory role in supporting and mentoring apprenticeships of all ages in the sustainable construction industry.

At regional level, UCATT is organising a series of one-day Going [email protected] briefings for its activists in each of its region. The briefings will make sure that more UCATT activists understand how activities in their workplaces impact on the environment and have the knowledge and skills to tackle climate change at work.

At local level UCATT union learning representatives (ULRs), shop stewards, safety representatives and convenors, supported by their regional and national officers, are already working in partnership with forward-thinking employers to tackle climate change, provide learning and training opportunities to develop green skills, and create sustainable long-term green jobs.

Here are some examples:

Wakefield and District Housing

UCATT’s work on the learning and skills and green agendas with the social housing provider Wakefield and District Housing is one of the projects highlighted as best practice in the TUC and European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) Green Workplaces projects. See www.tuc.org.uk/greenworkplaces and www.etuc.org/a/10376.

More information about the project can also be found in the Wakefield District Housing UCATT Case Study and our Going Green Newsletter April 2013.

You can see UCATT National Project Worker Steve Craig’s presentation on Wakefield and District Housing below and see the prsentation slides at http://issuu.com/unionlearn/docs/unionlearn-greeneconomy-stevecraig.

Union learning and the green economy: Steve craig from unionlearn on Vimeo.

Green Skills Partnership for London (London Region)

UCATT is part of the Green Skills Partnership for London (GSPL). From initial experimentation in east London to successful piloting in south London the partnership has evolved into a broad-based partnership for the whole city.

The partnership is co-ordinated by the TUC’s learning and skills organisation unionlearn and includes the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, Lewisham College, and South Thames College, employers including Lend Lease, Lakehouse, Carillion and Willmott Dixon, the voluntary sector, including Groundwork, Job Centre Plus and trade unions UCU, UCATT, UNITE.

Through the partnership training providers, employers, trade unions, the voluntary sector and communities have worked together, linking together the learning and skills agenda with the green agenda, to deliver sustainability training and employment opportunities. 
The project works with vulnerable and disadvantaged groups of people, including young and unemployed people, as well as trade union representatives. It provides opportunities for them to develop their environmental know-how and skills so that they can increase their voice and involvement in greening their local communities and workplaces.

The project aims to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies, reduce fuel poverty and waste and promote green initiatives in community gardens. It also helps those seeking jobs, work experience and placements, apprenticeships and careers where green skills are required to find learning and training opportunities that will provide them with the skills and qualifications they need.

Throughout the project, UCATT has promoted the principle that green jobs should be decent jobs, with access for disadvantaged groups, local employment opportunities, community benefits, good health and safety standards, career progression and trade union membership. 

For more information see: http://ecoskills.blogspot.com.

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