[노동자 무덤에 쌓는 산업전환 ④] Will ‘carbon-neutral collective bargaining’ be held this year?

▲ Source photo Hyundai Motor Company of the Metal Workers’ Union

Can workers who need to worry about their jobs right away at the threshold of the climate crisis and industrial transformation emerge as agents of a just transformation? Although there is a self-help perspective that there are not many things that can be resolved through labor-management negotiations, the movement to prepare a proposal for collective agreements and practical guidelines is becoming visible, centering on the two major trade unions and industrial unions. At this year’s collective bargaining, attention is paid to whether the climate crisis response plan based on this can be discussed as a major agenda item.

Formation of Special Committee on Climate Crisis Response by KCTU
The Korean Federation of Trade Unions prepares wage-and-distance guidelines

According to a report by on the 3rd, the KCTU formed a climate crisis response special committee last month to discuss the climate crisis and industrial transformation issues. Officials from the Public Transport Union, the Construction Industry Federation, the Metal Workers’ Union, the Climate Crisis Response Seoul Meeting, the Climate Crisis Emergency Action, the Democratic Labor Institute, and the Social and Public Research Institute will participate.

The Special Response Committee aims to raise awareness among members about the severity of the climate crisis. It is also at the beginning of discussions to prepare a model collective agreement for the realization of climate justice and a just transition. In addition, it is developing a ‘one-point collective bargaining requirement’ that can be put into practice in the workplace. Various demands are being put on the discussion table, for example, to have the cafeteria serve a climate-justified diet or to set a day for commuting by bicycle once a month.

The Federation of Trade Unions is discussing adding a chapter titled ‘Industrial transformation and union response to the climate crisis’ to this year’s guidelines for collective wage and collective bargaining struggles. In a survey to prepare guidelines for joint wage efforts, the Korea Federation of Trade Unions identified the impact of industrial conversion following the carbon decarbonization policy on the business sites of member unions and the level of preparation between labor and management.

Sangyoon Lee, Deputy Director of Policy Division 2 of the Federation of Trade Unions, said, “The union’s response to industrial transformation and the spread of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) management due to the climate crisis is one of the key issues this year. We plan to present a specific example of the collective agreement request.”

Coal-fired power generation and auto parts industries in front of restructuring

It is also true that in industries such as coal-fired power generation, where an employment crisis is occurring due to industrial transformation, there are not many problems that the union can solve by asking the management.

“KEPCO Industrial Development, which operates fuel and environmental facilities, may lose its company if the coal-fired power plant is shut down,” said Song Min, chairman of the Korea Southern Power Workers’ Union. said Kim Seong-gwan, chairman of the Korea East-West Power Workers’ Union, said, “Last year, when Honam Thermal Power Plant Units 1 and 2 in Yeosu, Jeollanam-do were shut down, special negotiations were held with management. .

The union of the five power generation companies is of the view that union integration is necessary to increase bargaining power with the government. In September of last year, the five power companies’ integration promotion committee was formed and discussions are underway with the goal of integration in September of this year.

In the auto parts industry, it is not easy for the labor community to take the lead and demand reduction of carbon emissions. The union has no intention of making carbon emission reduction a negotiating agenda. It was based on the perception that it is not a matter that can be decided unilaterally by the central government, and that it is a matter determined by government policy anyway. Lee Seong-hee, director of the policy bureau of the Korea Metal Workers’ Union, said, “We are thinking about what practical alternatives are to auto parts makers who are in crisis due to industrial transformation.

The Korea Metal Workers’ Union is also planning to respond with a focus on the auto parts industry. About a third of unions under the Federation belong to the auto parts industry. The Federation plans to collect on-site opinions through the Automobile Parts Industry Committee and deliver them to the Economic, Social and Labor Committee or the Carbon Neutrality Committee. Even in the auto parts industry, the temperature difference in response to climate crisis is different for each business site. Electronic parts makers, which are also widely used in electric vehicles, may benefit from industrial transformation. It is also a task to prepare a proposal that reflects the different interests of each business site.

▲ <Reporter Jeong Ki-hoon, file photo>” src=”https://cdn.labortoday.co.kr/news/photo/202202/207240_85730_1339.jpg”/><figcaption>▲ <Reporter Jeong Ki-hoon, file photo></figcaption></figure>
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<p><b>Demand for establishment of ‘Climate Justice Committee’, signing of industry-level agreement</b></p>
<p>The level of severity of the climate crisis varies greatly depending on the situation in which industries and workplaces are located.  In consideration of this reality, the public transport union is considering including a provision related to the establishment of the ‘Climate Justice Committee’ in this year’s 10 major wage demands.</p>
<p>The Climate Justice Committee is an organization for labor and management to jointly establish △Education for decarbonization industry transition, △Greenhouse gas emission reduction plan, △Business conversion/investment/procurement plan to respond to the climate crisis, and △Measures against worker damage.  The union plans to request the participation of external members, including users of public services and activists from civil and social groups in the fields of environment, climate and energy.  A union official explained, “The key issues related to the climate crisis are different depending on the industry at the affiliated workplaces.” “It is difficult to present a common request, so we are asking for a procedural device that can guarantee worker participation.”</p>
<p>The metallurgical union signed an ‘industrial transition agreement’ with the Metal Industry Employers’ Council last year for the first time in the industry and agreed to “joint measures for sustainable future development of the company, job stability, and securing quality jobs.”  As a joint request at the time, the union promoted the signing of a future agreement according to the industrial transformation, and the Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors divisions of the union signed separate future agreements in negotiations.</p>
<p>Labor and management in the health and medical industry signed an industry-wide centralized negotiation in November last year and promised joint efforts to respond to the climate crisis.  Labor and management decided to conduct climate crisis response training at least once a year and conduct campaign activities together.  We plan to prepare detailed measures for each business site, such as preparing measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to realize low-carbon medical institutions, and guidelines for responding to climate crisis that all employees practice together.  “We are conducting a fact-finding survey of workplaces across the country in relation to the proposal for collective bargaining,” said Jo Seon-hee, secretary-general of the health and medical union.</p>
<p>By Shin Hoon and Kim Mi-young, staff reporters</p>
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Prepare for ‘Climate Crisis Collective Bargaining’
The British Federation of Trade Union guidelines, confirm the goals and plans of the management and build results even if it is small

You may not be accustomed to dealing with the climate crisis and industrial transformation in collective bargaining. The guidelines provided by the TUC website (tuc.org.uk/climate) are expected to be helpful.

The Confederation of Trade Unions proposes to put an employee interested in climate crisis issues into the negotiating team in preparation for negotiations. Including safety and health officials in the negotiation team has the advantage of being able to request additional information from management. After forming the negotiating team, it is time to gather information. It is necessary to understand whether the management has declared a ‘climate emergency’, has set targets and schedules to reduce emissions, what is the government’s target applied to business sites, and whether the management has plans to achieve them. It is also important to discuss within the negotiating team what the biggest climate change problem at the workplace is. The bargaining table proposes that the management officially announce a plan to reduce carbon emissions and demand that it work with unions to achieve it.

The Confederation of Trade Unions emphasizes the need for small achievements. As small achievements, △public statement release △declaration of climate emergency △transition deployment △reduction of ‘carbon footprint’ △climate crisis education are presented. Specifically, we request the management to declare a climate emergency that states that a public statement promising to achieve carbon reduction targets and protect jobs, and that a human-caused climate crisis exists and establishes an action plan to overcome it. .

In industries with high carbon emissions, such as coal-fired power generation, restructuring problems may arise. The Confederation of Trade Unions recommends that workers at risk of losing their jobs in the process of industrial transformation be offered new roles or calls for placement in other jobs. Measures to reduce the ‘carbon footprint’ emphasize small actions such as conducting an environmental audit of the workplace, expanding telecommuting and teleconference, reducing single-use plastics, planting trees and wildflowers in the workplace, and using local produce in the cafeteria. The Confederation of Trade Unions added that the demand for training to raise awareness of the climate crisis in workplaces should not be missed.

Reporter Shin Hoon

Reference-www.labortoday.co.kr

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