On 20 September the National Secretary of the Australian Electrical Trades Union (ETU) Allen Hicks addressed a crowd of around 80,000 in Sydney, demanding world leaders to act on the threat of climate change.
Hicks applauded the hundreds of thousands of young people across Australia and the world who had taken strike action for the future of the planet.
He stated, “I want to thank and pay tribute to the courage and conviction shown by hundreds of thousands of young people all over the world that are taking strike action---action that is vial and necessary to their future and the future of our planet.”
Hick also called for a just transition to protect workers’ wages and conditions. “My father was a coal miner, and I started my career as an apprentice electrician in the coal mines,” said Hicks. “I’ve lived and worked in regional towns and communities where fossil fuels are the major generator of jobs and economic activity. Now is the for Australia as a nation to actively invest in regions that are transition away from emissions-intensive industries. Workers in these industries need confidence that they will not be left behind.”
Hicks called on Governments to invest in providing adequate training and upskilling workers so that they can apply their skills to renewable energy technology with the same level of job security. He underscored that workers in fossil fuel-dependent communities are also concerned about the future of our ecosystems, but, said that they want to be sure that they will still be able to enjoy a decent standard of living.
“We have the solutions, technologies and ideas required to achieve this transition. The only thing lacking right now is the political will to make these critical changes.”