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The International Trades Union Confederation(ITUC) has just released its statement for the upcoming COP 15 climate change conference in Copenhagen. The ITUC is the world’s largest trade union confederation with approximately 166 million members.

The statement is comprehensive in scope, while it also identifies several core issues with respect to climate change that are critical from a trade union perspective. Near the beginning of the statement the ITUC makes it clear that preserving the well-being of future generations is its primary goal:


“Trade unions believe that ambitious mitigation action is fundamental if we want to leave our children a sustainable world and a chance for social and development goals to be achieved.”


The ITUC also calls on all countries of the world to share their responsibilities to solve the climate crisis. Other key points from the statement are:

  • Climate policies can provide an opportunity for restoring hope, repairing and rebuilding national economies on a sustainable basis and creating jobs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Trade union are working to realize the huge opportunities for green and decent job creation stemming from this global transformation and, importantly, for improving traditional jobs to make them socially and environmentally sustainable.
  • The ITUC calls for a Just Transition as a means for smoothing the shift towards a more sustainable society and restoring hope in the capacity of a green economy to sustain jobs and livelihoods for all.
  • Sufficient public funding should be directed from developed countries to adaptation in developing countries. Social protection schemes, decent work promotion and quality public services as a means for reducing poverty and thus vulnerability to climate change are fundamental.
  • Major investments are needed to develop long-term, sustainable industrial policies aimed at retaining and creating decent and green/sustainable jobs, greening all workplaces and developing and deploying technology.
  • Since almost three-quarters of global greenhouse gases come from manufacturing, energy production or supply, transport and construction, workplace action will be crucial in order to achieve change. Workers and workplaces need pro-active and preventative policies to be put in place regarding adaptation to climate change, as well as the potential impacts of mitigation policies.


CUPE will be part of the ITUC-led international trade union delegation at COP 15. CUPE members and staff will be at the heart of deliberations with our international sisters and brothers as we push the Canadian government and all governments to agree to a binding and progressive climate change accord in Copenhagen.