The three campus trade unions at this university wrote to the Vice Chancellor asking for staff to be given an additional 30 minutes paid leave to take part in activities supporting the Youth Strike for Climate on Friday 20th September. We are pleased that this has been agreed, and staff can add the 30 minutes on to their normal lunch break, so we can visibly support the local Leeds group. See details about the University’s support for this stoppage.
This is an emergency! The Amazon is going up in smoke and could soon reach breaking point, with large parts of this incredible ecosystem collapsing before our eyes. Greenland is melting faster than ever before, and Central Africa is up in flames. Climate change isn’t a distant threat – it is here already. And yet our governments are supporting ever more fossil fuel extraction and doing far too little. That’s why, just before a crucial UN climate summit, children all over the world are taking to the streets, and calling on everyone to join them. With right wing climate change deniers presiding over so many powerful world states our participation on the streets to force change is more important than ever.
Youth Strike for Climate are calling on adults to do everything they can to support their big global action on Friday 20th September. In Leeds, they will be meeting in Millennium Square and marching round the city, followed by speeches and music back in Millennium Square. We (UCU, Unison and Unite) are meeting at the Parkinson steps with placards and banners, and marching down to Millennium Square, leaving at 12 noon sharp so we can join the youth march at 12:15. We’ve been asked to bring alarm clocks, to set them off at 1pm, to sound the alarm about the climate emergency. Leeds University Union have agreed to publicise the march to students. So all together, we hope to get a great crowd. Please spread the word!
We’re having a placard making session for this at lunchtime (1-2 pm) on Tuesday 17th September in 7.52 EC Stoner building – paints and blank placards provided.
There may also be an Extinction Rebellion Leeds event later in the day – keep an eye on their Facebook page if you’d like to get involved.
If you can’t join the march, you can chat with Sustainability about ideas for improving the university’s carbon footprint, or you could spend the 30 minutes on some online activism.
UCU nationally has strong policies on climate, divestment and just transition (see for example the motions passed at this year’s Congress) and is committed to campaigning and lobbying on these issues. Our General Secretary, Jo Grady, is speaking about this at the TUC Congress this week. You’ll remember that at our Leeds General Meeting in May we passed motions calling on the University to declare a climate emergency and to divest from fossil fuels, and we’re hoping that the calls from staff and students about this will be heeded soon. We’ve set up a new ‘Climate and ecological emergency’ working group to do more at branch level. If you’d like to get involved with this work please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d also encourage members to attend the Leeds TUC Regional Conference on Climate change on 19th October, to look at how trade unions can meet the challenge of the climate emergency. See full details and and registration (which is free).