Workers 4 Climate Action
W4CA is a group of unionists, workers, and activists that believe mobilising our collective power is crucial in the fight for a just transition. Fighting anti-union laws that try to stifle our right to strike will be an important part of this struggle.
Based in Sydney, NSW and meeting on the unceded lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation.
Workers for Climate Action: What We Stand For
Average global temperatures are currently on track to go far beyond the 2 degree rise deemed ‘safe’ by climate scientists. Climate change-induced disasters, like the floods in Indonesia and wildfires in the Amazon, Europe and California, are becoming more frequent and severe. In Australia, catastrophic bushfires have devastated ecosystems and peoples’ lives, and water shortages have pushed many towns to crisis point.
Yet the Coalition government continues to deny the reality of climate change and to hand out billions of dollars in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, despite Australia being one of the world’s biggest polluters per capita.
But the last two years have also seen enormous rallies calling for serious action on climate, with striking school students inspiring workers and other adults to rise up against the Morrison government’s climate vandalism.
Workers for Climate Action (W4CA) is an organising group, made up of teachers, nurses, transport workers, wharfies, university staff and more, that is dedicated to building the struggle for climate action in our workplaces, on the streets and in our unions.
For decades, political leaders and the fossil fuel industry have sought to drive a wedge between the workers’ movement and the climate movement, arguing that climate action will cost jobs. “Structural adjustment” in the Australian economy has decimated working class communities in the past and people have good reason to fear being left on the scrap heap. But it does not have to be this way. Transitioning the economy away from fossil fuels will require the creation of new jobs and industries on an enormous scale. To build a climate movement that can win, we must ensure that the concerns of working people for job security are front and centre, along with clear demands on the government to commit the investment required to drive the transition to a carbon-neutral economy.
Mass strikes by workers – those who drive the trains, construct our cities, and run the schools, hospitals and the energy system every day – will be needed to force this transition. The union movement has a proud history of fighting for environmental justice, the rights of women, Aboriginal people and immigrants, against wars and more. Strikes have been absolutely crucial to the gains we have made in the past, including ending Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. But unions are now massively restricted by anti-strike laws that stop us from striking outside very limited circumstances and outlaw industrial action over political questions. In order to win the transition we need, we will also have to confront these laws and win back the right to strike.
We invite workers, retired workers and unionists from any industry to join W4CA and get involved in the struggle for climate action and a just transition.
W4CA calls for:
- Publicly-owned 100% renewable power by 2030. Don’t leave the transition we need up to the market. Government investment in wind, solar, hydro and battery technology now.
- Government funded just transition and job creation. Just transition for communities and guaranteed jobs for affected fossil fuel workers. Fund good low-emissions jobs in transport, manufacturing, disaster relief, health, education, energy, and climate adaptation.
- No new fossil fuel or nuclear projects. End subsidies to these industries and immediately cut carbon emissions.
- The right to strike. Remove the Fair Work Act section preventing strikes that are likely to cause harm to the economy and all laws that limit our ability to strike only during ‘bargaining periods’ for Enterprise Agreements.