Local Shifts

Brighton Public Meeting at the TUC Conference

The Alliance for Jobs and Climate staged a fringe meeting at the Trade Union Conference on Monday 10th September.  The meeting was addressed by prominent speakers from both the trade union and environmental movements.  They included assistant general secretary PCS Chris Baugh; deputy general secretary CWU  Tony Kearns; Danielle Paffard from Move Your Money; and the senior energy campaigner from Friends of the Earth.

Overall the event was a huge success for highlighting the relationship between jobs and climate. The Alliance managed to build bridges with other organisations and educate all in attendance. Look out for more events on our calendar!

Sheffield petition for local climate jobs

We formed a Sheffield Climate Alliance in spring 2011, centered on an established group (Sheffield against Climate Change). Having been inspired by the Million Climate Jobs Campaign and the campaign’s report we thought that running a petition around the issue of local climate jobs was a good way to publicize the new Alliance.

We decided that our petition should be presented to Sheffield City Council at one of their meetings. Getting over 5000 signatures triggers a 40 minute debate. There are various, lesser actions taken on smaller petitions depending how many people have signed them. It was decided to call for 10,000 local jobs, based on Sheffield having around 1% of the country’s population and comparing this with the national million jobs call.

In Sheffield we never managed to obtain the 5,000 signatures. Nevertheless we presented the 2 587 signature petition to a Full SCC Meeting in December. This meant that one of our campaigners gave a 3 minute intro plus we asked questions from public gallery.

We discovered that having 2,500 signatures may be better than 5000 as your petition is
automatically referred for Scrutiny. This is part of the new Localism Bill. Our petition went to the Economic and Environmental Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee. We were asked to provide a paper and make a formal presentation which is followed by debate among the Officers and Councillors. This went down very well and created 2 hours of positive consensual discussion. The councillors really liked the examples from other places. The councillors asked the officers to undertake more research and we had a session with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), particularly the low carbon subgroup.

They also went to a meeting with representatives from the Local Enterprise Partnership designed to lead to an input into the Sheffield Economic Masterplan. As discussions continued with the Council, specific areas did start to be identified, such as the council generating renewable energy locally. We also started to make links with some of the local employers who are members of the low carbon subgroup. A consensus is starting to form across the council and the LEP that a low carbon economy should the main policy not a subgroup item. How this translates into action we need to follow up robustly.

Use ‘Running a Local Jobs Petition – The Sheffield Story‘ to see how to effectively start your own petition. If you would like to join contact them directly at: sheffieldclimatenews@gmail.com

Kirklees Campaigners Take to the Streets

Kirkees campaigners involved the local community, council members and activists in an all day event centered around the issue of jobs and climate. They successfully created a shift in their area, demonstrating the importance of this issue to us all.

In the morning half a dozen environmental and anti-cuts groups set up stalls around the climate jobs caravan in Slaithwaite. It was a chance to discuss and debate ideas about jobs and climate with the general public and other groups.

A short talk by local SHIFTstirrer Tim Padmore fired up the group for a guided walk to see the solar panels installed on roofs. The walk was inspirational, highlighting opportunities for renewable energy generation and tackling fuel poverty from such initiatives. The walk shows that even simple events can inspire a shift in your area.

In the evening there was a public showing of the One Million Climate Jobs film to capitalise on the momentum built up throughout the day. Following this there was a talk from John Stewart and a panel discussion to educate and engage the audience. The panel included the Labour leader of Kirklees Council, Cat from UKYCC and a trade unionist. By encompassing a range of views struck up a lively debate and managed to show that the climate jobs movement affects us all. It’s our shift.

Check out the Kirklees Case Study to learn more about local alliances. Or contact them directly to join: kirkleesccc@hotmail.co.uk.