An estimated four million people took part in the largest ever worldwide mobilisation for action on the climate crisis last Friday. The Irish organisers of the global climate strike said tens of thousands attended campaign events in more than 50 Irish cities and towns. These included large demonstrations in Dublin and Cork.
Fórsa supported the organisers of the Irish protests, which were spearheaded by the students behind recent school strikes for climate action. Friday’s demonstrations were part of an international campaign of strikes and actions planned to coincide with an emergency United Nations climate summit, which is taking place in New York this week.
The union encouraged its members to support the protests, and worked with the organisers to promote the events and win media attention for them.
Meanwhile, Irish trade unions joined with environmental groups to call on the Government to establish a National Just Transition Taskforce to oversee and manage Ireland’s move to a low carbon economy.
The Just Transition Alliance (JTA), a group comprised of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Fórsa, Friends of the Earth, Siptu, and the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, says the taskforce is needed to help secure the livelihoods of workers, and the future of their communities, in the shift to a low-carbon economy.
Last Friday’s global climate strike followed a series of school strikes, staged on Fridays in Ireland and across the planet, which were initially inspired by 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thurnberg’s solo strike in August 2018.
The Irish actions were led by a network of climate activists including Fridays for Future Ireland, Schools Climate Action Network and SchoolStrikes4 Climate Ireland. The global call for adults to join the day of action was supported by over 50 organisations in Ireland including, grassroots groups, development organisations, environmental organisations and faith-based groups, as well as trade unions.
Patricia King, general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), said unions were proud to support the students who have pushed climate action to the top of the political agenda here and abroad.
“Young people are demanding that their governments recognise the urgency and severity of the climate crisis and take appropriate action. Congress and its affiliated unions salute them for the leadership they have shown on this issue, and we stand with them to send an unequivocal message that climate action is needed now. We will continue to work for a just and lasting global transition to environmental sustainability, built on social dialogue,” she said.