Trade Unions and Environmental Transition

This PhD project has developed from Jenny Patient’s work over 3 years to engage trade unions around climate change. Making connections through the fringe programme around COP21 in Paris led to conversations with trade unions in energy-intensive industries, such as steel, glass and cement, that underpin the cities of Leeds, Hull and Sheffield. She is focused on developing knowledge that can help trade unions play their full role towards an energy transition that brings both sustainability and justice, at a time when action on climate at a city level has never been so important.  

Starting in Sept 2017 Jenny’s project has developed as a partnership with the TUC Yorkshire and Humber region, where the Low Carbon Task Force is working with Local Enterprise Partnerships, employers and trade unions to build awareness and capacity for change, including training for workplace green reps, and developing collaborative approaches to low-carbon technology change. 

Jenny will take a participatory action research approach, working with trade union activists in the Low Carbon Task Force, to explore key questions:

  • How are local trade unions contributing to a Just Transition for workers and communities in energy-intensive industries?
  • What barriers are they facing in the move towards a sustainable economy, and what can help to overcome those?
  • What can they learn from experience in other European industrial regions and sister trade unions? 

Jenny is supervised by Beth Perry and Stephen Connelly.

 

People involved

Jenny Patient

Jenny’s PhD project has developed from work over the last 3 years to engage trade unions around climate change. Making connections through the fringe programme around COP21 in Paris led to conversations with trade unions in energy-intensive industries, such as steel, glass and cement, that underpin the cities of Leeds, Hull and Sheffield. As a PhD student within the Realising Just Cities programme she is looking forward to developing knowledge that can help trade unions play their full role towards an energy transition that brings both sustainability and justice, at a time when action on climate at a city level has never been so important. Jenny will be co-supervised by Beth Perry and Stephen Connelly.

 

Jenny’s first career direction was managing computer projects in the UK railways, before a change to adult education where she has worked in community regeneration, active citizenship and sustainability. Her degree in Maths (University of Warwick, 1984) sneaked in some Sociology, followed by a post-graduate teaching certificate in 2004 (University of Huddersfield). A Masters in Human Ecology (2005-2007, University of Strathclyde) confirmed Jenny’s interest in action research and participatory processes, whilst grounding her subsequent work on energy and climate change at Heeley City Farm and Sheffield Climate Alliance.

 

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News, events and blog

By Jennifer Patient 11th July 2018

“Trade unions hear different stories - about climate change and what the response should be - from employers, industry bodies, the government and climate campaigners; they have no ‘honest broker’ to adjudicate between these stories. How can trade unions find an honest broker? Or can they become their own honest broker?”

 

Alex Whinnom is Co-Investigator of Jam and Justice: Co-producing Urban Governance for Social Innovation. He is Chief Executive of the Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation. In this blog, he reflects on the significance of a new Accord signed between the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Greater Manchester voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector.

 

Municipalism has been the magic buzzword in debates about new urban movements and the democratization of politics. In Europe it is currently associated especially with cities in Spain, the most prominent Barcelona, where the citizens platform Barcelona en Comú is trying to radically open the sphere of politics to social movements and neighborhood assemblies.