Fighting for our Future: An IUF Guide on Tackling the Climate Crisis in Intensive Livestock Production

The climate crisis is already destroying the livelihoods of workers across the world. It is of particular concern for workers in livestock production. Livestock production is one of the most emissions intensive sectors in the global food system. The sector is also negatively affected by the impacts of climate change.

Global transformation to a more climate-friendly food system is more urgent now than ever. But this poses huge risks to workers who face potentially negative impacts to their livelihoods.

Unions need to demand a voice to lead and shape the necessary change to ensure that any transition does not leave workers behind. This means fighting for a just transition. Unions need to take action at the local level to facilitate transformation of the global food system.

GLI Manchester was commissioned by the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) to produce a guide on tackling the climate crisis in intensive livestock production.

‘Fighting for our Future – an IUF Guide on Tackling the Climate Crisis in Intensive Livestock Production’ is now available to read and download.

This guide aims to equip unions representing workers in the meat and dairy sectors to influence the conditions for a just transition, and to propose the necessary transformative solutions to tackle the climate crisis.

This document includes a guide on the climate crisis and an activity workbook.

The guide provides information about the contribution of intensive livestock production to the climate crisis, about why the climate crisis is a union issue, and how unions can take action. The guide sets this in the wider political context. It is important for unions to understand this context to recognise the need for system transformation to address the climate crisis. Unions can use this information to formulate practical demands at the local level.

The activity workbook includes exercises that can help unions to better understand the main issues, to plan for just transition and to develop practical action.

Click here to read and download the guide in English, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.

The guide will also soon be made available in French and Swedish.

Click here for more information about the IUF’s work on the climate crisis.

News and events

TUED: ‘Green Structural Adjustment’ in South Africa – A War on Workers and Climate

TUED Global Forum: February 25, 2022, 8:00-9:30am ET

On Friday, February 25th, 800 am – 930 am ET (find your local time here) Trade Unions for Energy Demoracy (TUED) is holding a Global Forum: “Green Structural Adjustment” in South Africa: A War on Workers and Climate.  Spanish and French interpretation will be available.

Register here.

At COP26 in Glasgow, the EU, the US and the UK announced it was going to “mobilize” $8.5 billion to accelerate South Africa’s transition away from coal in order to protect the climate.

A month later the IMF “advised” the South African government to downsize and break up (“unbundling”) its public utility (Eskom) in order to build a “A Green and Climate-Resilient Economy.” The “unbundling” of Eskom, “must be accompanied by a substantial downsizing and structural transformation of its operations, notably through a meaningful reduction of procurement and personnel costs. Eskom spends more than it earns, reflecting both its operational inefficiencies and unsustainable debt level. Competition from private firms is necessary. The resulting higher level of private investment should help finance the energy transition away from coal, contributing to climate change objectives.”

The IMF is pursuing the same policy in many countries in the Global South. But experience has shown that the privatization of power systems impedes the effort to move away from fossil fuels.

Unions and their allies in South Africa have put forward an alternative to this approach, one that keeps energy under public ownership, allowing a transformed and fully-resourced Eskom to drive the transition while preserving the country’s energy sovereignty.

Meanwhile, unions are leading an international effort to fight the energy privatization agenda and to reclaim energy companies to public ownership under a pro-public mandate that can address climate concerns.

A list of speakers will be circulated in the coming days.  Please register here

Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) is a global, multi-sector trade union initiative to advance democratic direction and control of energy in a way that promotes solutions to the climate crisis, energy poverty, the degradation of both land and people, and responds to the attacks on workers’ rights and protections. TUED is is part of the Global Labour Institute Network.