Four South African trade union federations have come together to launch a just transition research centre to develop the technical expertise to help the labour movement in addressing the potential risks posed to workers as a result of the restructuring that will accompany the transition to greater climate resiliency.
The centre will initially be housed at Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) and will be supported by the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the Federation of Unions of South Africa, the National Council of Trade Unions and the South African Federation of Trade Unions.
French development agency AFD has committed funding toward the research to be undertaken by the centre.
In a statement released following the signing of the funding agreement between AFD and TIPS, it was indicated that the creation of the centre reflected the labour movement’s recognition that the climate crisis would entail substantial economic and plant-level restructuring that would “inevitably impose significant burdens on working people”.
“In response, unions and their members will have to engage on a variety of levels, from enterprise negotiations to community engagement and mobilisation to national and provincial policy development.
“The centre will provide the unions with technical expertise, including reviewing available research and the implications for workers; identifying and helping to analyse different levels of engagement with other stakeholders; and sharing experiences from South Africa and internationally,” the statement added.