UASA Media Release: 17 September 2021
Statement by Abigail Moyo, spokesperson of the trade union UASA:
UASA supports a lower carbon intensive economy but, on behalf of vulnerable workers, we demand a just transition to that new desired state.
While we understand the drive by First Rand and Nedbank to work and invest towards a pollution-free future by ending their funding of new coal-fired power stations we believe that, managed well, transitions to environmentally and socially sustainable economies can become a strong driver of job creation, job upgrading, social justice and poverty eradication.
We support the International Labour Organization’s viewpoint that greening all enterprises and jobs by introducing more energy and resource efficient practices, avoiding pollution and managing natural resources sustainably leads to innovation, enhances resilience and generates savings which drive new investment and employment.
UASA has a substantial number of members working in the coal mines and associated value chains who may lose their employment if the transition to greener practices does not take place in a just manner. A sudden, hasty move may cost the country more in terms of job losses than it will gain with clean power generation.
It is no secret that the country is sitting at the highest unemployment rate in its history, due to Covid-19 pandemic and the failure of the economy to produce sufficient sustainable jobs.
Clean energy generation is to be recommended, but what good will it do in a country where millions of citizens are without jobs?
We urge investors and power entities to look ahead and start training people on clean energy generation and allow industries enough time to adjust to new challenges in line with 4th Industrial Revolution, artificial intelligence and technology in general.
Rapid climate change forces us to investigate new solutions that will carry us into the future but we need to be practical about the effect on jobs and the livelihoods of our people.
By working towards relying principally on clean energy we also need to ensure that workers benefit by updating their training so that they keep their jobs.
For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview, contact Abigail Moyo at 065 170 0162.