NEWS RELEASE From the Office of the UK Green Party MEPs Jean Lambert and Caroline Lucas
8 October 2008
EURO MPS CALL FOR LEGAL RECOGNITION OF GREEN REPS
The UK Green Party MEPs, Jean Lambert and Caroline Lucas, have called on Governments and the European Commission today to legally recognise greentrade union representatives in the workplace. The idea has been championed by trade unions as a way to deliver greener workplaces through collective agreements between employers, employees and unions.
Just as unions and employers work together to improve health and safety inthe workplace, appointed union green representatives champion green issues. Dedicated green reps would raise environmental awareness as well as negotiate for the introduction of new environmental practices, for instance in relation to energy supply and consumption, waste and recycling and water use. Over half of carbon emissions in the UK are work-related, so businesses and organisations have a vitally important role to play in tackling climate change. However, some employers have been slow to implement carbon reduction and other environmental measures.
Jean Lambert, who sits on the Employment and Social Affairs Committee in the European Parliament said:"Dedicated union green reps have the potential to raise awareness of environmental issues and help to change behaviour in the workplace. They would also help deliver significant environmental improvements through engagement between employers and the workforce that will help the UK shift to a low carbon economy.
There is huge potential for trade union members to play a significant roleas green representatives at work, but to perform their role effectively theyneed legal recognition and the right to undertake relevant training andduties."
Caroline Lucas, a Member of the European Parliament's Environment Committee, added:"Climate change requires major changes in the workplace and I call on my colleagues in the European Parliament to sign up to our Written Declaration.Now the Government and the European Commission must work to secure rights for environmental representatives, including time for relevant training, the undertaking of workplace environmental audits and other duties. "
Experience has shown that such measures also have an effect outside theworld of work. This would be a simple, but important step forward."
The UK Green Party adopted motion at their last conference calling for Green Reps to be recognised under the law in the same way as health and safetyreps. This was put forward by Jean Lambert and was passed unanimously. Jean Lambert has also recently published her new report on Green Work which highlights the importance of giving Green Reps legal status.
The report canbe found at http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/greenwork
The Written Declaration has been co-signed by Alejandro Cercas of the Socialist Group and Luigi Cocilovo from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.
For more information please contact: Georgina Bloomfield, Media OfficerTel: 020 7407 6280 www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk
NOTES TO EDITORS
The text of the Written Declaration which is open for signatures today is as follows:
WRITTEN DECLARATION pursuant to Rule 116 of the Rules of Procedure by Jean Lambert, Caroline Lucas, Alejandro Cercas and Luigi Cocilovoon workers' environmental representatives 0088/2008
Written declaration on workers' environmental representatives
The European Parliament,- having regard to Rule 116 of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas, given the EU Sustainable Development Strategy, the European Council (Presidency Conclusions, 8-9 March 2007) has committed to 2020 EUtargets of 20-30 % reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption reductions of 20 %, and 20 % of energy demand from renewables,and the Commission has proposed renewable energy targets for each Member State,
B. whereas industry's meeting of environmental targets should be undertakenin a just way, requiring the active participation and support of employees and workplace representatives,
C. whereas trade unions are ideally placed to promote, implement, and helpdevelop best environmental workplace practice,
D. whereas some employers and trade unions have developed environmentalworkplace policies, and workers' environmental representatives are recognised in some workplaces,
1. Calls on the Council and Commission to acknowledge the importance of trade unions and workers' environmental representatives in meeting environmental challenges, particularly delivering on the EU's Sustainable Development Strategy and climate change and environmental objectives;
2. Calls on the Council and Commission to work to secure rights for workers'environmental representatives, including time for relevant training, the undertaking of workplace environmental audits and other duties;
3. Calls on Member States to afford workers' environmental representativesthese aforementioned rights, and to work with trade unions and employers toachieve environmental objectives in the most just way;
4. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, the Council, the Commission and Member States.