Union reps should have access to companies' green info


Cross-industry union Unite is calling for its representatives working in electrical engineering, electronics and IT to gain access to environmental impact information from the companies they work for.

The union also says company executives' pay and bonuses should be linked to meeting environmental targets.

The suggestions are detailed in a new report published by Unite - 'How Green Is My Workplace?' - based on a survey of 10,000 Unite members in the electronics and IT sector. The report gives guidance on how union representatives can raise awareness of environmental issues to make workplaces greener.

According to the survey, 83 per cent of Unite members believe their workplace wastes energy and resources and 87 per cent believe unions should be involved in designing and implementing measures that help to improve the environmental impact of workplaces.

Two success stories highlighted in the report include Fujitsu and wind turbine maker Cummins.

Unite members at Cummins have helped to establish an environmental committee to reflect the eco-credentials of the employer. The company aims to recycle all waste produced in its manufacturing processes.

At Fujitsu, Unite members take part in the company's Green Team initiative and have introduced environmental training for employees.

"I very much welcome the contribution that Unite - Britain's biggest union - is making to this important debate" - said Hilary Benn, secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs. "Trade unionists can really help change to happen in the workplace as part of the move to a lower-carbon economy. I hope this publication will be widely read and will raise awareness of climate change."

The report also recommends that trade union representatives should have consultation rights on purchasing and supply decisions which can affect the environmental impact of the workplace.

In cases of offshoring, companies should be made to report on the environmental impact of relocation to ensure that firms are not avoiding robust environmental regulation or labour standards by relocating, says the report.