Following on from the Thursday’s atrium briefing at 5PS, where Camden UNISON Branch Secretary Liz Wheatley joined Camden Council leader Georgia Gould addressing the challenges that the climate emergency raises, hundreds of Unison members joined Friday’s day of action, filling the main area of Pancras Square.
The day was characterised by the awareness that impending climate disasters responsibility lies at the door of the irresponsible strategy of the world governments. This strategy is dictated by the interests of carbon lobbies and multinational corporations who can no longer deny the damage that their exploitation is causing to the environment.
Over the last year, students have been walking out of school to highlight the climate emergency, and in advance of Greta Thunberg’s address to the UN, they asked us to join them. In response to that call, Camden UNISON called on members to rally at lunchtime outside 5PS and, for those who could, to join the students in Parliament Square. Council staff were met by NUJ members from the Guardian and other local workers, and a group of primary school students with placards they’d made.
Speakers from Camden UNISON, the NUJ at the Guardian, the UCU (college workers’ union) at UAL in Granary Square, Extinction Rebellion and from the political parties in Camden addressed the rally before a group of UNISON members left to meet the student strikers and march in Whitehall to chants of “No coal, no oil, keep your carbon in the soil” and “system change not climate change”.
Friday was a real success, involving members who had never been on a rally or march before, and it was great to be part of a massive global movement where it’s estimated about 4 million people took to the streets. But it’s only the beginning of what we must do. We will keep members updated but put 7 October (when Camden UNISON will be presenting a deputation at the Council meeting) and 12 October (when Extinction Rebellion have asked for trade unions to join their protests) in your diary now.