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Title: Climate change, trade unions and the promise of climate solidarity in the UK, 1997-2010
Author: Hampton, Paul Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 6808
Awarding Body: London Metropolitan University
Current Institution: London Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2014
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available