Story of our involvement in Bombardier

In June 2011 the news came through that the Canadian multinational Bombardier had not won the Thameslink contract. The implications for employment and Derby were horrendous, the direct loss of 1400 jobs in Derby, and many more indirectly in the region. This decision was made with no consideration given to the social & economic impact on the UK in awarding this contract overseas. The loss of the contract could have led to the shutdown of the last railway manufacturing plant in Britain, and one might argue that this has not happened because of the mighty fight back by members of the public and the unions.This case study explores how climate activists can work alongside trade unionists in what was at first appearance merely an ‘industrial’ dispute, about jobs. Continue reading Story of our involvement in Bombardier

Protect Derby City Council’s climate change and energy management team

The Derby City Council’s climate change and energy management teams are under threat, once again. The Council is proposing to cut this part of the services by £110,000 over three years.

At a time when energy costs are soaring and severe weather events are impacting greatly on people’s lives, both here and around the world, for Derby City Council to even consider cutting these budgets, with the likelihood of staff losing their jobs, is bizarre. Continue reading Protect Derby City Council’s climate change and energy management team

Bombardier

This story explores how climate activists can work alongside trade unionists in what was at first appearance merely an ‘industrial’ dispute, about jobs.

In June 2011 the news came through that the Canadian multinational Bombardier had not won the Thameslink contract. The implications for employment and Derby were horrendous, the direct loss of 1400 jobs in Derby, and many more indirectly in the region. This decision was made with no consideration given to the social & economic impact on the UK in awarding this contract overseas. The loss of the contract could have led to the shutdown of the last railway manufacturing plant in Britain, and one might argue that this has not happened because of the mighty fight back by members of the public and the unions. Continue reading Bombardier

Report on the Bombardier rally; jointly organised by us

Here is a report on the bombardier rally , which was brilliant, in yesterday’s Derby Telegraph.

The report says that “MORE than 200 people turned out last night for a public meeting in support of Bombardier, at which they were told that the fight to save city rail jobs was very much alive….” Generally the report is very good so do have a read, however, for the record, the number was closer to 150 people.
Many speakers made references to the environment, and the potential role of railways in combating climate change.
The intention is to set up a community support group in Derby, and to ask people up and down the country to support Bombardier meetings.  If you are interested let us know.
More information to follow about things that you can do.
Reg Hand
Secretary Derby Climate Coalition

Derby million climate jobs meeting

We had our meeting around a million climate jobs. 31 people came. The
speakers were good and it has generally registered on the local
political scene as another good meeting, one that has contributed to
building both the climate and the cuts movement in Derby.As we said before, we spent some time preparing for this, trying to
get unions to sponsor and support. In the event this was not reflected
in the turnout; there we very few trade union members there, but we
did make a few new contacts. I believe the Oxford meeting, held a week
before, attracted 56 or 57 people, and that also had very few trade
unionists. So be it. But that does not mean we shouldn’t be targeting
trade unionists; just that there is a big gap between them and the
environmentalists. Talking of the gap: we could only get a handful of
environmentalists down to a general anti-cuts protest, despite us
having a leaflet focusing upon the stringent cuts to the council’s
Climate Change unit. (Is anybody aware of similar offensives against
climate and environmental departments in other councils?)

Also, possibly, the TU movement is fairly inhibitated,  except over
the anti cuts protests. The fact that we has good climate jobs meeting
meant that we were able to go to an anti-cuts organising meeting the
following evening and say that we had a good meeting, and asking the
anti-cuts folks to join our protest around the cuts to the climate
change unit (on Feb 15th). I suspect we will get more than a handful
of environmentalists to this, and hopefully quite a few trade
unionists as well.

‘Building the movement from below’ meeting in Leeds

The ‘building the movement from below’ meeting in Leeds yesterday was attended by 20 people, including people from Schumacher North &
Bradford, Sheffield Campaign against Climate Change,  Derby Campaign
against Climate Change,  Scarborough, Leeds Transition Town, Leeds
Christian Aid, Manchester Climate Camp, Leeds PCS, Kirklees, South
Lake District, Manchester Climate Action, Tidal Leeds and Hull
Greenpeace.

People in general said it was a very good meeting. For
example, Jane from Scarborough texted me and said she ‘enjoyed the
workshop very much and we are inspired to set up a Climate Alliance in
Scarborough’. Fiona Dear from Stop Climate Chaos said it made her see
thing differently and that there were ways other than the ‘top down’
approach adopted by SCC. Interestingly the Climate Connection events
last weekend inspired by SCC had been taken by a number of the
groups.

Given the range of attendees and experiences, and the emphasis upon
building from below, I was confident that the meeting would work. But
I wanted it to be more that  than just about  networking; that there
was a need to build local alliances which respected the spaces of
others, in particular offering a strategy for reaching to people who
are not coming from a green environmental background. I don’t think
all the people there agreed with that and the way I expressed it, but
there was a great deal in interest is seeing how we could connect with
the movement against the cuts.The other area of contention was around the suggestion that all local
groups alliances support the Zero Carbon 2030 agenda. Here my feeling
was that people got locked into specifics and weren’t aware of the
richness and flexibility of the general argument. The lesson is to use
the report as a way of seeing where we could go (the promised land),
to see what is possible, and to see what might have to give way in
order to go down that road. It would have been very useful to have
somebody explain the thinking behind Zero Carbon Britain in some
depth.One suggestion is that all networks and potential networks, and
potential alliance set up a Zero Carbon Britain meeting. (We did this
in Derby and attrated 95 people to our two meeting on that day). And
to do the same around a million climate jobs. It is important that
these be done in partnership with various organisations, in effect as
an alliance.In my haste to report the fundamentals of the Leeds meeting I never
mentioned the importance of the lobbies of MPs around the Big Climate
Connection, organised by Stop Climate Chaos. Many of the people at the
meeting had been involved in very successful grassroots lobbies the previous
weekend. It helped bring together activists who had been disconnected, for
example in Scarborough, but in other places as well. I am told that across
the country that many people said it helped rejuvenate their local groups.
For me this demonstrates the need to work on the inter-connections between
the local and the national, which was one of the themes of the Leeds
workshop. And to recognise the continuing importance of Stop Climate Chaos.
And to continue exploring how local networks and groups can be strengthened
and built and rebuilt.

Zero Carbon Britain Meetings

Last Thursday in Derby our local climate change coalition organised 2 meetings around ZeroCarbon Britain, and we were fortunate to have Peter Harper, the Head of Research and Innovation from the Centre for Alternative Technology, up to speak on the report. Quite a lot of work went into the organising; there were 30 people, at the seminar (which was organised in partnership with the Council’s Climate Change unit) and 65 at the meeting in the evening. We are maged an interview on Radio Derby and today there was a reference on Radio 4’s You and Yours to Zero Carbon Britain and our meeting (an email from one of our activists was read out).Starting the discussion from the view of where we need to get to and looking at some of the options makes a lot of sense and both overcame divisions and highlighted the need to question some of the assumptions. See the attached slide. Interestingly there was nobody identifiably from the trade union movement.

At the end of the evening meeting we spent some time talking about the fragmentation of the movement, the need for local coalitions and the need to tie in with national initiatives. The audience was extremely receptive. 7-8 said they would be going to the demonstration in London on December 4th.

Gulf between the anti-cuts and the green movement

Our experience is that there is a gulf between the anti-cut  and the green movements. That is why we distributed the Alliance leaflet on the Comprehensive Spending Review at the Trades Council organised cuts protest on Saturday, see the attached, hoping it might draw in some of the anti-cuts people towards the Green agenda. We know that some greens are in favour of cuts (‘a necessary evil’) and are not at all sympathetic to trade unionists.
Hence somebody wrote to one of us saying “a line should be drawn between climate change campaigning and the more traditionally political campaigning …..If I may simplify my view greatly – we have all been living unsustainable lifestyles, and this will end.  The ‘flyer’ suggests that cutting public spending costs more than continuing it.  And yet we have a massive debt and can obviously not afford to continue spending as we have done.  We have enjoyed, and this includes the trade union members, a standard of general wealth and luxury unprecedented in human history – and completely unsustainable, as you know very well.  It is inevitable that luxuries of all kinds will disappear, and we will undoubtedly come to see, in the near future, a lot of the public spending that we have become accustomed to, as luxury spending.  The argument that is often trotted out “Our members didn’t cause this situation – its all the bankers” doesn’t; stand up to any intelligent scrutiny.  I have never worked in the public sector, and I don’t believe that I caused this economic situation, either.  The simple truth is that, as a nation, we have all got used to living beyond our means, and that has to end.  While its fair game to argue about the details of some of the changes that will happen, to argue that cut-backs must be resisted across the board, on principle, is dangerously self-deluding. “
While we disagree we think it is important to recognise the gaps and to try to build a bridge.
Another way, perhaps easier,  is to push the Million Green Jobs.
Would be interested to hear your experiences.

Coalition comprising a number of local groups active in addressing the solutions to climate change.