Letter to Ratcliffe Workers
Solidarity with E.ON workers
Unite against exploitation of workers and the planet: build a sustainable future with green jobs for all.
As you will know, climate action groups are planning a demonstration at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station on Saturday October 17. This demonstration was called by the Camp for Climate Action, Plane Stupid, and Climate Rush, and is now supported by Workers Climate Action and the Campaign Against Climate Change, among others.
We are doing this because we want to highlight the imperative need for urgent and radical action to drastically reduce carbon emissions in order to protect the future of human life on the planet. We do not believe that coal power is sustainable in the long-term. However well Ratcliffe and its workers have done in recent years to reduce sulphurs, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants (and we know you have), carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses are the big issue for the planet. We argue for massive investment in renewable resources to provide an environmentally-friendly alternative, and create more, not fewer, jobs, in a more sustainable energy sector.
We want to make it clear that workers at Ratcliffe are not the target of our action. We believe in the idea of a worker-led just transition: this means that we want to see workers in high-polluting industries take control of their workplaces to develop plans to convert their productive capacity and make their workplaces sustainable. In the 1970s, workers at the Lucas Aerospace factories in the West Midlands fought job cuts by producing a workers’ plan for the conversion of their factories (which made military hardware) to produce hybrid cars, hospital equipment and tidal power generators. For workers to take such radical steps, we need to build up confidence through struggles around day-to-day issues such as pay, terms and conditions. If you stand up to your bosses over issues such as these, you can rely on our support and solidarity.
Energy workers and trade unionists within our movement know from their discussions with trade union activists at Ratcliffe that e.on has offered generation workers a pay increase of just 1%, as well as cutting bonuses and asking workers to work longer hours. This is an insult to Ratcliffe workers, many of whom have worked in the industry for long periods of time, particularly when e.on is making large profits and its bosses are taking home astronomical pay packets.
Increasingly, workers are fighting back against bosses’ attempts to make us pay for an economic crisis they created. Workers at the factories and other workplaces in Enfield, Dundee, Dublin, Waterford, Basildon and elsewhere have occupied their workplaces against job cuts. Most recently, workers at the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight have staged an ongoing struggle against the closure of their workplace and the loss of over 600 jobs. Activists from the climate and environmental movements have played a key role in supporting these struggles. We know that you have been told by your bosses not to talk to anyone involved in the Climate Swoop; we suggest that this is because they are threatened by the potential power of an alliance between workers and environmental activists. The struggle against e.on’s exploitation of the planet and its exploitation of workers are intrinsically linked – we hope we can work together in this struggle in the future.
Workers’ Climate Action
This leaflet was produced by supporters of Workers’ Climate Action, a network within the environmental and trade union movements that works to develop radical working-class solutions to climate change. To find out more about WCA, visit workersclimateaction.co.uk .
What will happen on October 17?
On 17th October the Swoop will converge on Ratcliffe-on-Soar to show that it is only by acting for ourselves to take back the power that we will achieve the change we need.
Temperatures and sea levels are rising faster than predicted. Our politicians and business leaders have proven woefully lacking. They talk grandly of carbon reductions whilst expanding airports, widening motorways, and burning more coal. The best they come up with is carbon trading! Corporate profiteering has got us into this mess, and cannot get us out. Capitalism depends on greed and growth – which our planet can no longer sustain. The carbon trading schemes that our politicians propose would mean trusting our future to the same people, and the same casino like systems, that recently crashed our economy. It would also mean pretending that rich nations can carry on emitting, whilst poor ones pick up the tab. And unlike those blessed bankers, the climate can’t be bailed out!
Rest assured that our intention is not to intimidate you. We also respect your health and safety. Please tell any activists if you have concerns.
And join us if you can!
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