Thursday 1 October 2015

The Climate Justice Approach of NUMSA

A Trade Union Approach to Climate Justice: The Campaign Strategy of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa

Vishwas Satgar


South Africa is the twelfth highest emitter of carbon emissions in the world. It has an energy intensity and per capita usage of fossil fuel energy that surpasses other countries in the BRICS, it is currently building one the largest coal-fired power stations in the world, and is championing a green neo-liberal approach to the climate change crisis. This article investigates how the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) developed an approach to climate justice and is intervening to shape policy around the just transition in South Africa. The article explores the factors that contributed to NUMSA’s embrace of a politics of climate justice, the internal education and policy capacity developed in the union and the campaigns championed to advance climate justice. The article provides insights into how NUMSA has campaigned around energy efficiency and electricity price increases, influenced and monitored the roll out of solar water geysers and has advanced a position on socially owned renewable energy.

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