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Students on strike are fighting for all of us

The Wellington Local Affiliates Council of the New Zealand trade union movement offers its full support to school students walking out of class on Friday 15 March.

Schools across the country are expected to be affected by the strike, which calls on the government to take more urgent action in curbing carbon emissions and reducing New Zealand’s contribution to man-made climate change.

“It’s great to see young people taking collective action on important issues. They’re the latest in a long and proud tradition,” says Unions Wellington convenor Ben Peterson.

“Many trade unionists will be in Civic Square for tomorrow’s march on parliament, whether as students themselves or as adults in support of the cause.”

The union movement calls on employers and the government to recognise the necessity of a Just Transition away from fossil fuels which ensures workers in affected industries are not made to suffer.

“Workers currently employed in fossil fuel industries should not be suddenly cast onto the scrap heap, paying the price for environmentally destructive decisions made by a filthy rich few,” says Mr Peterson.

“Unions and progressive governments can work together to support the creation of secure, well paid Green Jobs.”

While some commentators have suggested students should never break the rules by leaving school grounds to protest, Unions Wellington disagrees.

“If we all just followed the rules all the time, we’d never move forward as a society,” says Mr Peterson.

“Women wouldn’t have the vote, there’d be no laws to protect workers rights, and apartheid would still be in place.”

“We believe the students on strike are smart enough to know when an important issue is worth it, and we congratulate them for fighting to save our planet.”

ENDS

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