School student activists march down George St in Brisbane’s CBD earlier this year. File picture
School student activists march down George St in Brisbane’s CBD earlier this year. File picture

Unions weigh in on climate strike

UNIONS are using controversial student-led climate change strikes as a recruitment drive to bolster their dwindling membership while endorsing radical anti-coal demands that puts them at odds with Anthony Albanese.

The climate strike, which includes protests in Brisbane next Friday, encourages students to walk out of classrooms to demand an end to fossil fuels and thermal coal mining.

It comes as School Strike 4 Climate Australia is this year urging adults to leave work to protest in solidarity and join a union.

The group claims it is led by "school students from cities and towns across Australia".

Asked if it was appropriate for unions to use the strike as a recruitment drive, ACTU president Michele O'Neil told The Courier-Mail, Scott Morrison was in "complete denial" about climate change and "young people face a devastating future unless the adults in charge wake up and smell the bush fires.

"We support the right of students to protest. The inaction of the Morrison Government and other climate crisis deniers around the world gives them little choice."

The group's communications plan leaked to The Courier-Mail reveals "key messages", including, "Our Government should be helping move Australia beyond fossil fuels to 100 per cent clean energy and safe dignified work for everyone who wants it. Instead they are helping billionaire companies like Adani open the flood gates to new coal, oil and gas projects that put all of us in the firing line".

Labor Leader Anthony Albanese made a beeline for Queensland after the May election drubbing to tell regional communities he supported mining and pledged to saturate the state to win back their support.

He was asked for comment yesterday on the matter.

Federal Opposition Leader Anthony during a press conference in Brisbane this month.
Federal Opposition Leader Anthony during a press conference in Brisbane this month.

 

School Strike 4 Climate Australia's online resources includes a link that is directed to the ACTU, which states, "Join your union to protect your rights at work.

"If you aren't in paid work, or can't join right now, you can help by volunteering instead."

At the bottom of the page is the ACTU's campaign, Change the Rules.

It also lists unions on its website that endorse the strike, including the Community and Public Sector Union, the Electrical Trades Union, United Voice, National Union of Workers, Australian Education Union and Victoria's construction branch of the CFMMEU.

It advises workers to come into work early or finish early so they can have a longer lunch hour to support the action.

Dawson MP George Christensen lashed out at unions for encouraging truancy and supporting politics that aimed to take jobs away from regional Queensland.

"With a host of unions listed as official partners, this climate strike is looking like nothing more than a union recruitment drive into our schools,'' Mr Christensen said.

"Not only is it advocating for truancy - which is illegal - but, given the number one goal of the climate strike is "No new coal, oil and gas projects, including the Adani mine," it's also advocating against the unions' members who rely on the resources sector for a job."



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