There is no future in coal. Not only will it wreck the lives of people already suffering the effects of drought, storms and floods around the world, it will fail to give rural Queenslanders secure jobs. Over the last five years 60 per cent of global coal operations have been running at a loss. Michael Roche, chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council, said in 2016 that ‘these are some of the worst conditions they [coal companies] have faced in decades.
Our unions can lead the fight for real jobs in renewables. Recently, unions in New York State have compelled the governor to roll out $1.5 billion worth of renewables projects, creating 40,000 new jobs by 2020. In Australia this year, according to the Clean Energy Council 4105 direct jobs have been created in renewables. Telstra is investing in a solar farm near Emerald which will create 200 construction jobs. In Germany entire communities have transitioned successfully away from coal mining. Even in the deeply conservative state of Texas, out of 48,794 energy jobs, wind employs 24, 374 and solar 11,729. These are real jobs that allow people to provide a decent standard of living for their families.
Adani and the Queensland government are lying about a coal inspired jobs bonanza. The jobs will be few and they will be precarious. They will not restore confidence to rural communities. Solar and wind jobs can. New technology development and manufacture can. Green agriculture can.
What unions can do:
- Demand that your union opposes coal mining. In Queensland this means condemning the Palaszczuk government for approving the Adani mine. The Queensland Teachers’ Union has already done this.
- Demand that your union calls on all levels of government to support a just transition to other forms of employment for workers and families directly dependent on fossil fuel extraction and energy generation for their livelihoods.
- Demand that your union support the roll out of renewable energy infrastructure in rural Queensland.
- Demand that your workplace be air-conditioned and that this be powered by solar panels. Workers should not suffer the effects of climate chaos. Demand that the superannuation fund that covers your industry divest from fossil fuels.
- Fight for a maximum temperature for workplace operations. Once this is exceeded, work stops.
- Unions should demand that local councils and the state government integrate their own workplaces directly with public transport systems, commit to an expansion of public transport to service all major employment hubs, and set cheap fares.
From The Cloudland Collective. Click here for a printable version.