Irish trade unions have called on the Government to ensure a 'just transition' for those on the lowest incomes as it moves towards a low-carbon economy.
Today, a motion calling on the Government to ensure investment in jobs and communities as it takes action on the Paris Climate Agreement passed with unanimous support at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) conference.
“Lives and livelihoods are being lost to climate change and a world with a temperature increase of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius will be unsafe and unsustainable for all,” the conference heard.
Set down by the executive committee, the motion calls on the Government to undertake impact assessments on the distribution of costs and benefits of climate change transition policy measures.
The motion also calls on the Government to establish a ‘just transition’ commission and to ensure that any increases in the carbon tax are progressive and mitigate the impact on those with the lowest incomes.
Speaking in support of the motion Ann McGee of Fórsa said: "Climate action has finally elbowed its way to the top of the political and trade union agenda."
"I commend congress for its emphasis on creating alternative employment for workers and communities most affected by a move towards a low-carbon economy," she added.
Since the motion was first proposed, the Government has published its climate action plan which includes a chapter on just transition, David Joyce of ICTU said, speaking after the motion passed.
"From our point of view, it's not as strong as we would like it to be at this stage. We would hope to be at the implementation stage, assessing risks to jobs and ensuring that supports are in place for people whose jobs will be displaced."