• Campaigning for trade union action on the climate crisis
Equity members on a protest against Universal Credit outside the High Court, 17.7.19, photo NSSN

Equity members on a protest against Universal Credit outside the High Court, 17.7.19, photo NSSN   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)


Performing arts union Equity joins the list published in the last issue of the Socialist of unions organising for action. The motion below was passed by Equity North and East London General branch on 13 July. It received partial approval, with qualifications, from the union’s ruling council on 3 September.

Climate change affects all Equity members and has a direct impact on our industrial conditions including working temperatures. Given the very recent confirmation of 20 September as the global day of action on climate change… This branch urges council to:

1. Declare support, publicly and among members, for the general aims of the climate emergency day of action: namely, raising awareness of the climate crisis and demanding action to address it.

2. Support the campaign on 20 September, including lawful actions such as encouraging members to organise protests during breaks or before or after working hours on that day, and encouraging members to take part in lawful demonstrations and meetings.

3. Put pressure on government and industry to take urgent action to address the issue.

London arts and culture workers

Trade union activists from workplaces including the Tate, British Library and Southbank Centre, and the PCS, Bectu, Unison, UCU and Equity unions, met informally in Fleet Street on 10 September. The discussion included:

  • PCS union culture sector branches, including the Tate, have written to employers asking them to allow staff two or three hours to take part in climate actions on 20 September
  • Local councils including Salford, Brighton and Hackney might allow staff to walk out for the action too
  • Lunchtime protests and photo shoots, and short demonstrations before or after working hours, as well as union branches and trade union councils holding debates and demos, are practical ways to take part
  • There should be an arts and culture workers’ bloc on the 20 September action, and defence of any arts or culture workers victimised for taking reasonable action on the day

Some PCS branches have elected workplace ‘green reps’ to pressure employers on environmental practices, and other branches and unions could consider doing the same.