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This equipment was donated by Thompsons solicitors. Greening the Workplace: The Role of Trade Unions Tuesday 23 rd October 2007. Reviewing the Situation: An LRD Report. Paul Hampton Labour Research Department (LRD).

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This equipment was donated by Thompsons solicitors

Greening the Workplace: The Role of Trade Unions

Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Reviewing the situation an lrd report

Reviewing the Situation: An LRD Report

Paul Hampton

Labour Research Department (LRD)

Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Lrd survey 2007
LRD survey 2007

  • LRD received 677 responses between January and March.

  • Respondents: Union reps (56%), safety reps (34%) and learning and equality reps (8%).

  • Three-quarters (72%) from reps in the public sector. Central government accounted for over a quarter (27%).

  • Nearly half (49%) worked in offices.

  • The largest responses came from PCS (25%), Prospect (22%), UCU (14%), CWU (12%) and Unite (T&G) (8%).

Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Main findings
Main findings

1) Employers’ failings

2) Enthusiasm from union reps

3) Problems

Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Employers’ failings

  • Over three in five employers (61%) have done nothing to promote green transport policies.

  • More than half have done nothing on water conservation (57%) and green purchasing (52%).

  • Over a third of employers have done nothing to minimise waste or minimise resource use (both 35%).

  • Almost a quarter (23%) have done nothing to promote energy efficiency.

Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Employers failings
Employers’ failings

  • Fewer than a quarter (23%) of reps reported that their workplace had an environmental management system.

  • Over half the reps who responded said they were sure their employer had not provided any training on environmental issues

  • Only 22% were sure their employer had published information about the organisation’s environmental performance.

  • As a rail rep put it, environmental issues are “seen as low priority – no real effort from the company”.

Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Union enthusiasm energy efficiency
Union enthusiasm - energy efficiency

  • Computer controlled central heating system, low energy light bulbs, lights and plug points switched off at lunch and at the end of work, and improved building insulation.

    -- UCU rep at the North East Institute

  • Wind turbines

    -- Unite (T&G) at the Port of Tilbury and Unison rep at the University of Lincoln.

  • Bonus payments linked to energy saving and emissions

    -- T&G rep at manufacturing firm PPG Industries

  • A four day week.

    -- GMB rep at BAe Systems

Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Union enthusiasm recycling
Union enthusiasm - recycling

  • Direct recycling streams for paper and for bottle glass, batteries and fluorescent tubes. Toner cartridges, furniture computers donated, gas cylinders refilled.

    -- UCU rep at University College London

  • Plastics and water-based adhesives were being recycled.

    -- Community rep at shoe manufacturers Loake Brothers

  • Metal for scrap, paper and cardboard.

    -- Unite (Amicus) rep at Kemfine UK

Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Union enthusiasm toilets
Union enthusiasm - toilets

  • Rainwater

    Prospect rep at the Met Office

  • Water miser controls

    Prospect safety rep

  • Shallow flush

    PCS HMCS

Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Union enthusiasm cycling
Union enthusiasm – cycling

  • Bike shed and showers

    PCS rep in the Pensions Service

  • Secure cycle storage including bike cages with stands and covers, with a common key. An interest-free cycle loan, including for a lock and helmet. Plans for lockers.

    UNISON at the University of Brighton

  • Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Union enthusiasm cars and buses
Union enthusiasm – cars and buses

  • Dual fuel and hybrid pool cars

    -- PCS rep at the Government Office for the South East

    -- Prospect rep at the Natural Environment Research Council

  • Car sharing scheme, video conferencing, electric vans

    -- Prospect rep at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

  • Company bus provided for day and shift workers.

    -- Unite (T&G) safety rep at Millennium Chemicals

  • Discount payment scheme for bus passes

    -- PCS rep at the Land Registry

Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Union enthusiasm committees
Union enthusiasm - committees

  • Climate change working group

    -- Unison rep in Telford and Wrekin council

  • Environmental review committee

    -- Unite (T&G) rep at BAe systems

  • Joint trade union environment group

    -- UCU and Unison reps at City College in Manchester

  • Health and safety committee

    -- Prospect safety rep at Sellafield nuclear plant

Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Union enthusiasm interventions
Union enthusiasm – interventions

  • Green day and staff survey

    -- Prospect rep at the National Library of Scotland

  • DVD - Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth

    -- Rep at EDF Energy

  • Health and safety risk assessments

    -- CWU rep in Royal Mail

  • Environmental audit of waste products

    -- Unite (T&G) rep at the North West Institute of Further and Higher Education.

  • Union Improvement Notice

    -- PCS rep at Revenue and Customs

Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Problems
Problems

  • Only 31% of respondents said the union has been involved in environmental improvement measures in their workplace.

  • Only 10% of workplaces where the employer had an environmental management system were unions involved in it.

  • Around a quarter (26%) of reps reported getting time off for training and duties regarding the environment.

  • Just 10% said they had attended training on environmental issues.

    Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Problems1
Problems

  • Minimising resources means “cutting staff”.

    PCS rep at the Department for Work and Pensions

  • “If the employer was to take a ‘green’ stance it would probably be for ‘other reasons’ e.g. ban car parking so that the car park space can be utilised differently - not necessarily for environmental reasons.”

    UCU rep at Bradford College

  • “Discussions about how staff commute between sites – going nowhere fast”.

    UCU rep at Hopwood Hall College

Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Problems2
Problems

  • A CWU rep at Royal Mail said that his sorting office introduced recycling for about 12 months until management “found out they would have to pay extra to have it collected!”

  • A PCS rep at the Maritime Coastguard Agency told us his workplace was awaiting a paper recycling facility, because the local council has refused to collect from small business without payment.

  • A few (2%) of these committed reps had problems getting time off for training.

Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Recommendations
Recommendations

  • Campaign for legal rights for environment reps

  • Develop and publish bargaining tools for all reps – model agreements, policies, audit forms

  • Press ahead with training on environmental issues

  • Discuss existing union structures e.g. branch environment reps

  • More research on unions and climate change

Institute of Employment Rights Greening the Workplace Tuesday 23rd October 2007


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