Climate change, trade unions and the promise of climate solidarity in the UK, 1997-2010

Hampton, Paul Stephen (2014) Climate change, trade unions and the promise of climate solidarity in the UK, 1997-2010. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract / Description

Contemporary climate change politics, dominated by neoliberal and ecological modernisation framings, has reached an impasse. This thesis investigates whether a Marxist critique focused on trade unions might offer an alternative approach. It critically analyses the social science literature on climate change and utilises insights from the employment relations literature to interrogate trade union activities. The thesis makes original contributions to both the climate change and employment relations literatures. First, it offers a critique of the dominant climate politics and suggests an alternative framing. Second, it proposes a theorisation of organised workers and trade unions as strategic climate actors, applying Hyman's triangular model of market, society and class to understand union behaviour on climate change. Third, it contains a theoretically informed and empirically grounded investigation of UK trade union policy and practice on climate change at the start of the 21 st century. The main findings are that some socialists, trade unionists and activists in the UK have introduced a working class perspective into climate discourse, including challenges to property relations, climate inequality and through mobilisation. Some trade unionists have foreground the occupational aspects of climate change and climate policy, and made distinctive demands for a radical just transition, climate jobs and socially useful work. Trade union climate representatives ("green reps") in some workplaces have made an independent contribution to climate mitigation and adaptation. The occupation of the Vestas wind turbine manufacturing factory and the resulting climate solidarity illustrate the potential power of workers' climate action. The principal conclusions are that workers have the interest and collective capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to address the differential impacts of climate and climate policy, and to coalesce other actors to tackle climate change. The recent experience of UK trade unions suggests they have a vital role to play as climate actors and, suitably reconfigured, the capability to lead a renewed climate movement.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: uk.bl.ethos.603082
Uncontrolled Keywords: Climate change politics; workers and trade unions as strategic climate actors; Hyman's triangular model of market, society and class; union behaviour on climate change; UK trade union policy and practice on climate change; occupation of the Vestas wind turbine manufacturing factory.
Subjects: 500 Natural Sciences and Mathematics > 570 Life sciences; biology
Department: School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
Depositing User: Chiara Repetto
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2022 13:50
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2022 13:50
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/7372

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