Campaigners in Swindon will rally to join Global Earth Strike

By Swindon Link - 7 September 2019

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"It's time to stand up" says campaigners in Swindon as they pledge their support to Earth Strike; a global week of action to demand immediate action on climate change.

Globally more than 6000 organisers have pledged to put on events in more than 150 countries, making Earth Strike - due to take place on 20 September - the biggest ever day of action on climate change, and the first to involve industrial action from trade unions. In the UK more than 125 events have been organised.

On Friday 20 September, campaigners from Swindon will be backing the cause.

The idea for Earth Strike began when young people involved in the student led 'Climate Strike' movement decided it was time for adults to join in. The activist group, started by Greta Thunberg has now seen the event supported by a wide range of trade unions, activist groups and businesses.

Jon Timbrell, a local trade unionist and president of Swindon Trade Union Council said: "For nearly a year, young people have been leading the way in the fight against climate change with a series of huge, inspiring, international school and college strikes. It's about time the adults joined in!

"From women's and working class suffrage struggles against war, racism and for equal pay and rights at work, the trade union movement has always been at the forefront of progressive campaigning. We know that climate change is an existential threat to us all, but we also know that globally, and here at home, the most poor and vulnerable are being disproportionately hit by the effects of climate change.

"We need to take urgent action, and it's great to see the unions starting to engage seriously with such a vital issue."

In the UK, the PCS, UCU, IWW and BAFAW trade unions have already pledged to support the campaign, whilst the TUC, representing nearly 6 million workers across the UK will be debating a motion to call a 30 minute work stoppage in solidarity with Earth Strike. Prominent direct action campaign group Extinction Rebellion are also throwing their support behind the action.

Trade unions have also been negotiating for their members to be allowed time off work to attend local earth Strike events, while dozens of companies such as Lush, Ben and Jerry's and Patagonia have voluntarily closed their doors for the day to allow staff to take part. Workers in a number of local workplaces are also making preparations for the day.

Adrianna Wolczuk, a local Youth Strike organiser said: "The time has passed for adults to roll their eyes and tut at the Youth strikers selfless efforts of fighting for a new system to combat the ever increasing climate change.

"We are calling upon all adults to join us on September 20 to show support. Adults and the youth need to go hand in hand with the perseverance and motivation for change of the youth and the experience and guidance of adults. Together, we'll create a movement that can change the world!"

Tristan Strange, and organiser with the Swindon branch of Extinction Rebellion added: "The UK Parliament has declared a climate emergency. Unfortunately, few in politics seem prepared to heed it. Indeed, the majority of councillors in Swindon deny its existence. They are actively stripping the already meagre green policies from our Local Planning legislation at a time when a great deal more of these policies are urgently required.

"Despite the rhetoric, our leaders are not listening. Whether you strike or not it's time for the people of Swindon to stand alongside their children and demand the drastic changes we all need. The people of Swindon need to send a clear message to both government and council that we know they aren’t doing enough, and we won't accept their greenwashing anymore. We've tried writing letters, signing petitions and other campaigning. It's time to stand up."

The Swindon Earth Strike event will take place on Friday 20 September from 12.30pm, assembling at Regent Circus, Near Morrison's, and will process along Princes street before moving up through town centre.

Anyone wanting advice on how to approach their employer and colleagues about taking part in Earth Strike can contact the local branch of the campaign at swindonearthstrike@gmail.com.

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