United Nations
Commission on Sustainable Development

Background Paper


Commission on Sustainable Development      Background Paper No. 6
Sixth Session
20 April - 1 May 1998


                     TRADE UNIONS AT CSD98
                                
    International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)
           Trade Union Advisory Council - OECD (TUAC)

This paper forms part of an integrated trade union document covering the four themes of the
"Business and Industry" Segment of the CSD. The paper was originally written with an
introduction and conclusion with each section flowing into each other in a logical manner. 

However, for the purposes of the CSD the sections of the paper have been regrouped to
accommodate printing of material into four sections.  What follows is the "Table of Contents"
of the original trade union paper, showing in which of the four printed sections its various
parts have been placed.


INTRODUCTION (Background Paper No. 2) 
Globalization of Production and Consumption
(Placed at the Beginning of the "Responsible Entrepreneurship" section) 

The introduction discusses the prospects of sustainable development in an era of globalization
and outlines the necessary climate for trade and investment which is needed to foster
"Responsible Entrepreneurship" or to enable management tools to yield measurable changes in
the workplaces of the world. It argues that International solutions for employment and
transition programs are necessary as a prerequisite to effective and local trade union
involvement.


Part 1: MANAGEMENT TOOLS AND STRATEGIES (Background Paper No. 6)
The Trade Union Perspective on "Effective" Management Tools

Workers and their trade unions must be central to any meaningful change involving the
workplace. The section examines the way trade unions are currently working through joint
workplace mechanisms, including Eco-Audits as a means of extending advances in
occupational health and safety to environmental protection. The section looks at the need to
challenge ways of doing things in the workplace in communities.

Part 2: RESPONSIBLE ENTREPRENEURSHIP (Background Paper No. 2)
The Trade Union Perspective on "Responsible Leadership for Change"

A view of "Responsible Business Practice" is provided and explains why trade unions wish to
work with employers and governments in providing leadership for change. Responsible
practice recognizes the need for accountability and includes target-setting and reporting based
on criteria of trust, credibility, transparency, and applicability to smaller enterprises, as well as
the participation of workers and trade unions. It also must recognize a role for public policy
and government in promoting and supporting responsible leadership for change. 


Part 3: TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND ASSESSMENT (Background Paper No. 10)
The Trade Union Perspective on "Cooperation and Capacity Building"

The section explains the reasons why support for or resistance to certain types of technological
change occur depending on the purposes for which they are employed. There is a particular
focus on chemicals as an example where broad-based "capacity building" can occur. A the
trade union approach to assessing technology or technology transfer is reviewed and the
implications for employment and workers' well- being are highlighted. The key role of
training, education and information sharing are discussed.


Part 4: WATER AND CLEANER PRODUCTION (Background Paper No. 14)
A Practical Approach to the Problem of Water

This section looks at the workplace practicalities of addressing the problem of water and
outlines the challenges that are posed in addressing any issue from a workplace point of view.
The section deviates from others by avoiding theoretical discussions   about issues and looks at
"What Needs To Be Done" now in making progress on Water.  This discussion leads into Part
five (printed at the end of the water section) which reviews the implications of the trade union
approach on water for other pressing issues, including climate change.


Part 5 : THE CHALLENGE OF PARTNERSHIP FOR CHANGE (Background Paper No. 14)
(Included in the water section)

This section presents the challenges posed by working with trade unions and the reviews the
changes that are needed to make the workplace a central focus for sustainable development.
There is a need for cooperation in "workplace partnerships" if real change to the patterns of
production and consumption is to occur. The process for commencing the dialogue with
international business is outlined.
Commission on Sustainable Development      Background Paper No. 6
Sixth Session
20 April - 1 May 1998


                                
    EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT TOOLS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT:
                  THE TRADE UNION PERSPECTIVE
                                
    International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)
          Trade Union Advisory Committee - OECD (TUAC)
                                
                                

           I.  COLLECTIVE ENGAGEMENT AT THE WORKPLACE

  A.  Trade unions contribute a focus on the workplace as the
               hub of production and consumption

1. Sustainable development targets can only be met if attention is paid to the workplace as the
hub of production and consumption.  Our emphasis in any discussion of responsible corporate
practice is, therefore, on the effective management of change at the workplace and focuses on
local, workplace targets and implementation strategies as the logical basis for regional and
international strategies.  Industrial development cannot be considered sustainable if it results in
loss of employment or poor, unsafe and unhealthy working conditions or deterioration in any of
the indicators of social development.

  B. Workers and their trade unions are central to any effort
          to change production and consumption patterns

2. Action on the part of trade unions and workers is crucial to any change in current patterns of
production and consumption.  Workers have an interest in the effects their production has on the
working or general environment, and every day challenge the "Taylorism" which presumes they
are detached from their work or that they are uncaring consumers.

3. Collective action through their unions enables workers to engage in qualitative change.  This
notion is at the heart of our challenge to employers and governments to focus on workplace
action.  A partnership approach to environmental protection is necessary to act on the joint
knowledge and skills that management and trade unions have developed.  Without it, the ability of
countries to meet targets will continue to be severely limited.  As ICFTU General-Secretary Bill
Jordan noted at a conference in 1995, a major reason why industrialised countries have failed to
meet targets established for greenhouse gases is "the wide gap between the people who set these
targets and the people who work at the source of the emissions."

4. Where employers work with trade unions to build environmental programmes on a platform
of union/employee commitment and mutual understanding, they develop a climate of confidence
and creativity which is required to stimulate information-sharing and innovation.  This is further
promoted where trade union representatives are appointed to steering committees and task groups
to secure employee input.


                           IN DENMARK

     Workers Prove that Employee Participation Is Key

     A survey of 100 employers in 1995 by the Danish Arbejderbevaegelsens showed that the
majority saw co-operation between management and employees on Cleaner Production as the
most important factor in promoting environmental progress.  Another 5-year study of 100
employers by the Danish General Workers Union (SiD) and Aalborg of CP programmes
concluded that a high level of employee participation is a necessary precondition in planning
and that qualification requirements increased as a result of employee involvement.




      II.  COLLECTIVE ENGAGEMENT IN JOINT WORKPLACE ACTION

A.  Extending joint workplace mechanisms for occupational health
               and safety to environmental issues

5. For workers and their trade unions, the movement to sustainable development is historically
linked to the workers' struggle to mitigate the worst effects of unsustainable production; it is an
extension of previously won rights to occupational health and safety.  While an environmental
focus adds new dimensions and new partnerships with employers and community, there are
significant parallels.

6. The health and safety of workers can be viewed as a barometer of community well-being. 
Each year hundreds of thousands of workers die because of unsustainable forms of production,
and millions more become ill or disabled.  The direct impact of these cases is usually borne by the
family and community in the form of health care and other assistance.  As well, the reduction or
elimination of standards within the workplace (e.g., controls and exposure limits for toxic
substances) also threatens the community environment with contamination.  Putting health, safety
and the environment at the centre of development plans makes for sound investment practice.

7. This will involve the development of structures and a commitment of resources to
awareness-raising and education and training of members in which joint worksite health and safety
committees should serve as a model.  These committees reinforce the rule-making relationship
under collective bargaining and have already been extended to include broader sustainable
development issues in Germany and many other countries.  Their activities include education and
training, regular inspections, incident investigation, programme development, record-keeping and
related issues.  Success is completely dependent upon the unqualified co-operation of both parties,
as reflected in an equally balanced structure, including joint chairmanship.


      Joint Worksite Committees:  Typical Responsibilities
                                
   A Joint Worksite Health and Safety Committee has the primary responsibility for
identifying health and safety concerns and recommending solutions.  This includes the
following:

-  Receive and act upon health and safety concerns in the workplace.

-  Identify hazards and make recommendations to control or eliminate them.

-  Disseminate occupational health and safety information.

-  Review accident reports and make recommendations.

-  Carry out frequent formal inspections of the worksite.

-  Ensure that suitable educational and training programmes are carried out.

-  Maintain records in connection with concerns.

The committee carries out this responsibility by taking minutes of their meetings and
documenting their inspections.




B.  Building on positive experiences with workplace partnerships

8. Trade unions bring extensive experience in partnerships for responsible business practice. 
Significant advances have occurred through co-operative initiatives led by progressive employers,
where voluntary agreements have produced change and where strong legislation and
governmental support has served as an impetus to "green" collective bargaining.

9. Progress is best where agreements have established "Partnerships for Change" with the full
participation of workers.  One of the most productive areas for trade union involvement has been
eco-auditing.  This requires the confidence and co-operation of the workforce in designing
implementation and reporting procedures.  It leads to the joint drafting of corporate
environmental policy and to the establishment and evaluation of workplace eco-standards.

10.  Environmental agreements set out the union and employer's commitment to improving
environmental performance, and establish the principles of participation and responsibilities, as
well as joint procedures and objectives to be regularly assessed.  Typical provisions for workplace
environmental action provide for:

   (a)  Joint structures for discussion and negotiation;
   (b)  Conduct and timing of meetings;
   (c)  Sharing of information on a wide array of issues; 
   (d)  Confidentiality of information (either company or union reasons);
   (e)  Access to expert assistance;
   (f)  Education of workers and union environment representatives;
   (g)  Joint environmental and health and safety audits;
   (h)  Commitment to standards of environmental protection;
   (I)  Participation of workers in environmental policy-making;
   (j)  An obligation to provide information to the local community.


                           IN DENMARK
                                
   The Danish Union of Graphical Workers (Grafisk Forbund) has concluded a framework
agreement with the Danish Graphical Employers' Association to promote cleaner production
in the industry.  In co-operation with the National Agency of Environmental Protection,
specific projects receive financial support from the Ministry of Environment, and focus on
low-cost action, essential in an industry where 75% of all employers hire fewer than 10
employees.  To identify essential environmental concerns as a focus for specific projects, work
began with a workshop which drew together a wide range of parties with knowledge and
experience in the field.  As well, it included an extensive review of relevant literature.



                           IN CANADA

   A Pollution Prevention Agreement in the Motor Industry
The Canadian Automotive Workers (CAW) negotiated Cleaner Production provisions into
collective agreement covering 50,000 workers in 30 plants, as well as supplier and part
manufacturers in Canada.  Joint union-management action has reduced worker and
environmental exposure to many substances; for example,

-  Solvents such as methylene chloride have been replaced with less hazardous substances;

-  Ice blasting has been substituted for solvents to clean painted surfaces;

-  Vegetable oils have replaced mineral cutting fluids.

   The motor companies acknowledge that worker and union involvement, together with
community activism is critical in helping to identify and prevent pollution at work. 





      III.  COLLECTIVE ENGAGEMENT IN WORKPLACE ECO-AUDITS

A.  A commitment to workplace targets, measurement, evaluation and reporting

11.  Since 1993, the ICFTU has promoted the workplace eco-audit as a strategy through which
workers and employers can tackle environmental problems, monitor and evaluate progress and
feed into a national reporting process, as provided in Agenda 21.  Eco-auditing has been used by
trade unions wherever worksite health, safety and environment programmes for workplace
target-setting have required basic monitoring, record-keeping, reporting and evaluating to enable
change.

12.  Properly conducted, audits can assess every major interaction of the workplace with the
environment and can point to improvements that could be made through negotiations or joint
committee action.  As a minimum, an environmental audit:

   (a)  Evaluates and helps improve environmental performance;
   (b)  Identifies potential efficiency gains and improves effective use of resources;
   (c)  Forms the basis for workplace and company target-setting;
   (d)  Promotes exchange of information internally and externally;
   (e)  Increases awareness and participation of trade union members;
   (f)  Helps assess training needs;
   (g)  Identifies employment trends;
   (h)  Improves health and safety at work;
   (I)  Promotes a healthy living environment;
   (j)  Improves public confidence and community links;
   (k)  Enhances management, union and community co-operation.

13.  One of the most advanced legal frameworks so far is the European Eco Management and
Audit Scheme (EMAS), introduced through a European Union Council Regulation in 1993 which
permits voluntary participation.  Today, all EU member States are required to have an EMAS
scheme in operation.  Trade union participation in EMAS was contemplated in the 5th EU
Environmental Action Programme which called for "Responsibility to be shared between different
actors:  the EU, governments of the member States, local and regional authorities, industry and
the general public, notably non-governmental organisations, consumer organisations and trade
unions." 

14.  Under EMAS, a participating company sets targets for improving environmental
performance on each site it wishes to register for the scheme;  e.g., for reducing pollution,
recycling waste or saving energy.  Workers must be provided with training and information on
environmental issues:  "the company shall establish and maintain procedures for receiving,
documenting and responding to communications (internal and external) from relevant interested
parties concerning its environmental effects and management."

15.  The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has played a major role in the
development, implementation and constructive evolution of EMAS, keeping member
organisations informed, lobbying for trade union involvement and providing education and
training.  A major weakness in EMAS has been limited participation because of its voluntary
nature.  It nonetheless contains key features that are worth noting.


                           IN FINLAND

   A Union Works with Tourist Operators to Pilot an Eco-audit with Environmental and
Cost-saving Objectives

        In 1994, a number of hotels, a highway service centre, a health resort, a tourist farm, an
exercise centre, a spa, campgrounds and a ski resort developed and implemented an eco-audit
process in collaboration with the Hotel and Restaurant Workers' Union, the Association of
Nature Conservation and the Association of Finnish Travel Agents.  The process resulted in
changes in purchasing practices, maintenance, energy and water consumption, human waste
management, food preparation and coordination of related leisure activities, and considerable
cost-savings in waste management, energy and other inputs.

   Customers readily accepted changes in service.  At rest stops, they responded well to
sorting of waste.  In hotels, they welcomed unbleached toilet paper, reduced washing of
towels and bulk-packaged soap and shampoo, as well as individual packages at breakfast; 
one-third said that environmental decisions influenced their choice of hotel.  Skiers at one
resort indicated that they would be willing to pay more for their lift tickets for environmental
improvements.




               B.  Trade union concerns about ISO

16.  The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has produced standards of business
performance in quality management and environmental management.  Free trade and globalisation
have driven rapid acceptance of this process since ISO 9000 Series on Quality Management first
appeared in 1987.  The ISO 14000 Series on Environmental Management began in the 1990s as a
result of public environmental concerns.  In 1996, the environmental management standards in the
14000 Series, together with the key standards on environmental auditing and certification, were
formally adopted by the ISO.

17.  Trade unions in Europe are concerned that the neutrality and independence of auditors under
the new regime are not insured in national approval procedures.  It poses three other challenges to
the type of auditing favoured by trade unions:  (I) it favours large organisations based in
industrialised nations;  (ii) it challenges and may even replace legislated consumer standards; and 
(iii) it threatens workers' rights and interests in workplaces, as there are few examples of ISO
conformity procedures being handled by joint committees of workers and employers.

18.  The ISO 14000 Series is a range of "Standards," including basic environmental management
system on guidance and specification (ISO 14000-14004);  environmental auditing and
certification (ISO 14010-14015);  environmental performance (ISO 14031);  life cycle assessment
(ISO 14041-14044);  environmental labeling (ISO 14020-14024); and environmental aspects of
product standards (ISO 14060).

19.  The fear is that ISO may become a substitute to international standards for implementation at
the national level.  ISO health and safety management standards are also a possible threat to
health and safety regimes which have been built up by workers over centuries of struggle.

20.  Would ISO cut workers out of the action completely and produce workplace conditions and
procedures entirely alien to the regimes of the last quarter century?  This question is yet to be
answered.  Trade unions see ISO as a very basic set of instruments.  If it continues to evolve by
including worker and trade union participation - especially to incorporate our model of
eco-auditing - it has the potential of becoming another acceptable tool for joint workplace action.


          The International Transport Federation (IF)
                                
     Protection of Marine Environment Suffers from Industry-Dominated Monitoring 

   A 1992 study of standards in the oil industry concluded that shipping is almost totally
deregulated, which has led to the cutting of manning and maintenance costs to exploit the use
of Flags of Convenience.  Traditional industry standards are no longer effectively enforced,
and the growth of FoCS enables shipowners to minimise costs by avoiding taxes and trade
unions, recruiting non-domiciled seafarers for low wage rates and few benefits, and lowering
safety requirements.

   The ITF believes that the consequences are manifest in the industry, especially in the
tanker sector where freight rates are low, crews are cheap and underqualified, and ship
standards unacceptable.  In the interest of sustainable development, and to protect our seas,
FoCs must come under more stringent control.  Moreover, measures should be taken to
ensure that flag states comply with relevant international convention standards.




C.  Trade unions accord a central role for workplace training, education and information-sharing
                    in the eco-audit process

21.  A union framework for eco-auditing is not limited to a few engineers or costly technical
programmes.  Instead, worker participation and changes in procedures, practices and actions are
essential.  Studies consistently show that employees possess important knowledge and experience
about the barriers and opportunities for sustainable patterns and an understanding of how they
relate to work and job functions.  This knowledge, however, surfaces only in a climate of trust
and open dialogue involving the union.


The International Federation of Building and Woodworkers (IFBWW)

   Acting on the belief that people who live and work in the forest can make a difference in
sustainable forestry practices, the IFBWW has established a Global Forestry Programme to:

-  Ensure that union concerns on global forestry are incorporated into international initiatives; 
e.g., forest certification and codes and conventions on working practices;

-  Develop national programmes to organise and strengthen local unions, demonstrate their
commitment to sustainable forestry practices and increase their technical skills;

-  Improve working conditions of forest and woodworkers to ensure that jobs are secure, safe
and ecologically sustainable.

   Plans for 1998 include health and safety training, organising in the forestry sector,
awareness-raising, community projects, providing technical advice, participation in national
and international policy debates and participation in forest certification efforts.




                     IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
                                
    A Union Shows How Enlightenment Is an Ever-Widening Circle
The Czech Mine, Geology and Oil Industry Workers' Union (OS PHGN) represents thousands
of workers who are coping with profound transition as they work for cleaner production and
sustainable development.  Following a detailed review of their enterprises, members concluded
that negative effects on the work and community environment were caused by both technical
deficiencies as well as the actions of individual employees at their jobs and in private life.

   With the help of partners from Cornell University in New York, they implemented a plan
to improve the ecological consciousness of their members, families and community members
by means of training and participation in the use of eco-audits.  A "train the trainers"
programme was initiated, first for members and then the public, improving the ecological
behaviour of 120,000 employees and eventually some 400,000 citizens.


                                
      III.  BEYOND "LEAKY PIPES" THROUGH COLLECTIVE ACTION

A.  Trade unions and other democratic organisations challenge traditional decision-making
            patterns in the workplace and community

22.  Unions have proven to be the only reliable vehicle through which workers have been able to
win a measure of democracy in the day-to-day operation of the workplace.  They tranform the
work relations and build a tradition of democratic decision-making amongst their members,
creating more caring and responsible individuals at work and at home.  Many move on to become
leaders in the movement for "public participation" as contemplated by Agenda 21.  Safer
workplaces and active communities have resulted where workers have won the right to joint
rule-making.  Unions extend conditions for democracy to environmental activities; i.e., access to
knowledge, full participation in decision-making and the right of workers to refuse unsafe work,
free from fear of job loss or discipline.

23.  Changing production and consumption patterns on and off the job is largely a matter of
changing attitudes, but attitudinal change can only occur in participatory settings.  This is why
recent studies in the United States show that the amount of toxic waste released into the
environment by manufacturing facilities can be reduced faster and more effectively by formally
involving unions/employees in pollution prevention.  Likewise, waste reduction programmes
achieved the best results when union/worker participation was combined with technical expertise.

24.  A study by the Netherlands Institute for the Working Environment (1996) likewise showed
that employee participation enhanced the learning process and enabled continuous improvement. 
The study of Cleaner Production programmes in CEE by the OECD concluded that they should
no longer be evaluated only from the perspectives of environmental and economic results, but also
from the perspective of the employees. Involving workers and trade unions, therefore, goes
beyond the identification of "leaky pipes" to improve efficiency.  It leads to a completely new type
of workplace.


                           IN ERITREA
                                
   Trade Unionists Tackle Environmental Issues in Post-War Period

   As one of its first acts in the Post-War period, the newly formed National Confederation
of Eritrean Workers (NCEW) organised a series of national training workshops on sustainable
development with materials provided by the ILO Worker Education and Environment Project
(ACTRAV).  This enabled top union leaders to influence discussions on sustainable
development at all levels in their country and to draft a national union policy, including
priorities, implementation strategy and action plans.  OHSE committees are being established
at all worksites, committee members are being trained and agreements are being negotiated.




B.  Trade unions accord a central role to education as the key to the "quantum leaps" required to
                     achieve sustainability

25.  Trade unions see education as an essential tool for achieving the goals of environmentally
sustainable development.  A country's ability to develop sustainably depends on the capacity of its
people to understand complex environmental and development issues so that they can make the
right choices concerning their everyday lives.  There is, thus, a need to increase workers'
awareness of environmental issues and the way their lives affect and are affected by them.  Once
basic education provides people with the environmental awareness, values and attitudes and skills,
they can be involved in finding solutions to environment and development problems.

26.  Trade unions have developed considerable capacity in education, public awareness and
training and are a prime vehicle through which a significant portion of the population has acquired
the knowledge, values, attitudes, commitment and skills needed to participate in change.

27.  Trade union education is conducted with close attention to the principles of adult and
popular education; these are consistent with the type of workplace and community action we
believe is necessary to achieve the aims of sustainable development.

28.  The overriding aim for trade unions, however, is to educate our members to become
competent in environmental decision-making at all levels - in the workplace, in the local
community and at national and international levels.


C.  Sustainable development requires the effective engagement of all sectors of civil society, a
new generation of "environmental citizens," able to make sound environmental decisions and to
             act instinctively to protect the Earth

29.  Our goal is a "Sustainable Society" and it will require an increasing role for "Partnerships for
Change," more widespread co-operation and networking between employers and trade unions at
international, national and local levels towards the promotion and implementation of sustainable
development concepts and principles, in a co-operative spirit that will extend to the world outside
the workplace.

30.  It will require the strengthening of the institutional arrangements to facilitate partnerships
and dialogue on environment and work issues between social partners (government, employers
and trade unions), other major stakeholders, such as industrialists, engineers and academics and
other members of society in order to build up a relationship of trust, commitment and action.  It
will also require a commitment to education that includes all formal and nonformal institutions of
education, which must teach sustainable development based upon active, aware citizens working
through democratic institutions.

31.  The full effects of activities of trade unions in the environmental arena are sometimes not
immediately visible; however, seemingly humble steps to promote sustainability in trade unions
can have far-reaching impacts.  Eventually, it must lead to a new generation of environmentally
conscious communities, the real key to the quantum leaps that are needed for Agenda 21 to
succeed.  Environmental protection is proving to be a rallying point for new alliances and
coalitions with trade unions to stop the erosion of standards due to restructuring and
globalisation.


                            IN JAPAN
                                
   The All-Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers' Union (JICHORO), with over a
million members, has combined health, safety and environment in a policy called "Formation
of an Environmental Local Government" to promote sustainable development through
programmes on energy use, air quality, water resources, waste and food.  With the belief that
sustainable development requires profound changes in production, lifestyles and attitudes,
members are encouraged to engage in environmental activities at the national and local level
as a way to re-orienting governments towards better practices.

   The focus is on project-based activities in co-operation with NGOs and individual
workers; e.g., participating in the Earth Day Japan Campaign and other campaigns for
resource recycling, conservation and the designation of "Water Week".  JICHORO is also
active internationally; e.g., donating trucks to Viet Nam for collecting solid wastes and
tractors to the Philippine Sugar Workers for environmental clean-up.  It also organises tours
to study workers' environmental issues in other Asian countries.




                           IN EUROPE

   Education Is a Key Component of an Environmental Action Programme for Central and
Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States

       An Environmental Action Programme for the CEE and NIS proposes more be given to
raising awareness among government officials, industrialists, engineers, labour/health and
safety inspectors and other stakeholders about the benefits of union involvement in CP
programmes.  It notes a strong demand among unions for training manuals and educational
materials which promote self-reliance and are simple to use, and the need for raising
awareness among union members of the benefits of CP, and the ways in which they can
promote employment, strengthen health and safety, improve working conditions and increase
workers' incomes.

   As well, unions must have access to information published by international organisations,
government and environmental organisations.  Project funding from international donors,
governments and non-governmental organisations is needed to enable Action trade unions to
educate and train their officers on CP, aid in the dissemination of information and guidance to
members, and integrate CP in education courses for union health, safety and ecology officers.




                           GREENPEACE
                                
      Issues a Statement on the Importance of Trade Union Activism

       At an ICFTU Congress in Caracas, a Greenpeace spokesperson said that a relationship
between NGOs and trade unions is crucial "to address the urgent and absolute threat that the
continued destruction of the environment poses to our planet.  What is urgently needed is a
complete re-assessment and re-organisation of industrial production and consumption," and
highlighted actions that the world trade unions have already taken.  "In my own country,
Australia, construction unions have banned the use of organo-phosphate pesticides, dock
workers have taken action to prevent the unloading of rain forest timber, and our Great
Barrier Reef, the biggest coral reef network in the world, is now protected from the ravages of
the oil industry by a union ban on off-shore oil exploration.  In Africa, unions were
instrumental in winning a ban on the dumping of hazardous chemicals in their continent.  In
Europe, workers and their unions are implementing environmental audits of their workplaces
in order to force industry to stop using toxic chemicals and reduce industrial energy and water
consumption."

   "Greenpeace hopes that this ICFTU Congress is just the start of our co-operation and
that the process of dialogue and consensus-building is maintained at both the international,
national and local level."



                           IN ROMANIA

   Trade Unionists Lead a Campaign for a Cleaner Community

        In the small industrial town of Baia Maria, the National Free Trade Union Confederation
of Romania-Brotherhood (CNSLR-FRATIA) joined forces with the Ecological Society
Maramuras, Blue Sky Association, and the Ecosport Club, as well as local Environment and
Sanitary Authorities and other unions, NGOs, local administrations, mass media, research
institutes, local citizens and even some management to launch a "Save Baia Maria Initiative." 
They targeted mines and industries that have been releasing sulphur dioxide, lead, zinc and
cadmium into the atmosphere and heavy metals and fluorides into local rivers, creating
contamination levels more than 100 times permitted limits, with negative effects on public
health and working conditions; e.g., a life expectancy far below the national average,
bronchitis and emphysema, chronic lead poisoning and other diseases related to air pollution.

   They conducted research, launched court action, held protest meetings and an
international symposium, and a "Month of Fight Against Pollution" featuring posters, outdoor
slide shows, ball games with gas masks, demonstrations and the unveiling of monument. 
Companies responded with corrective action, which the governments declared a success,
although some measures were not successful.  The fight for a clean environment in Baia Maria
continues.



                          IN ZIMBABWE

   Local Authority Unions Study Environmental Issues and Find Co-operative
Solutions Involving Trade Unions, Local Authorities and Community Organisations

   In the midst of the deteriorating economic situation in the early '90s, the Zimbabwe
Urban Council Workers' Union and the Zimbabwe Local Authority and DDF Workers' Union,
assisted by the ILO Project on Workers' Education and the Environment organised to address
crucial issues for Zimbabwe's urban and rural communities.  Teams of union health and safety
representatives identified sustainable development issues, conducted in-depth investigations of
housing and community environments, work environments in the local authorities, and the
impact of retrenchment on the community environment.  They found improper control of
environmentally related communicable disease, inadequate housing resulting from unplanned
urban growth, growing poverty and retrenchment of the workforce under a Structural
Adjustment Programme.

   Project teams produced reports and held seminars with researchers, union leadership,
local authorities, government, and NGOs, to begin formulating policy and programmes on
environmental issues in local authority areas.




                          IN AUSTRALIA

   Unions Win Accounting of Environmental Gains As Performance Measures

        In 1992, the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union introduced a project to
incorporate environmental performance, as a productivity measure, into enterprise
agreements.  According to the AMWU, a noticeable shift has occurred, from pollution control
to pollution prevention, as enterprise bargaining agreements provide workers with an
opportunity to influence environmental performance in the workplace.  In 1994, AMWU
initiated a training programme on environmental best practices for shop stewards.  In addition,
the AMWU, with assistance from the CEPA, helped publish a guide to help shop stewards and
workers identify and initiate environmental improvements.





                       IN THE PHILIPPINES
                                
   The Rural Workers' Organisation assisted rural workers with improved techniques to
correct improper and environmentally destructive farming methods, resulting in enhanced
incomes and launching a long-term programme against environmental degradation related to
poverty levels.

   Negotiations between the country's trade union centre with Confindustria, the association
representing industry's employers, resulted in the founding of an Observatory for
environmental, health and safety issues through a bipartite body with participation from
employers and unions.  Through a participatory approach, the social partners define common
purposes and elaborate joint environmental goals.

   The TUCP has been involved in a range of sustainable livelihood projects involving
reforestation and solid waste management.  At the national level, it is negotiating stewardship
of a 50-hectare area close to Metro Manila for a reforestation programme to use it as a
showcase and site for Ecology Camps.  The TUCP envisages that these camps will be used as
a venue for alternative training on environmental management, as well as for team-building
exercises within the trade unions.




                          IN ARGENTINA

   A Reforestation Project Improves the Natural Environment, Supplements the
Retirement Income of Members and Creates Jobs

   The National Civil Personnel Union (MUPCN), in partnership with the National Civil
Personnel Mutual, launched the "Programmea de Forestacion Para Capitalizacion Jubilatoria"
(Forestal Reversion as Retirement Investment Programme) in Sante Fe State in Argentina. 
Tree planting will (i) recycle carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas responsible for global warming,
as well as providing for "green space"; (ii) create one direct and two indirect jobs for every
hectare planted; and (iii) when the project expands to capacity by the year 2003, generate
almost $4 million annually from which each union member will receive Mutual Plan retirement
benefits that could amount to an extra $150/month in extra pension earnings.




                            IN GHANA
                                
   A Union Tackles Deforestation with a Reforestation Project

   The Timber and Woodworkers Union has been actively engaged in sustainable forestry
efforts for several years, with programmes to raise environmental awareness and encourage
workers and the general public to initiate actions for the protection, conservation and
reforestation of the environment.

   As part of its activities to increase awareness of the issues involved, the TWU has
established a tree nursery, wood lots and teak plantations.  Based on the success of initial
reforestation efforts, the TWU plans to reforest more land in the future.



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Date last posted: 8 December 1999 15:15:30
Comments and suggestions: DESA/DSD