No jobs on a dead planet: Swedish unions’ perceptions of their roles in a just transition
Sammanfattning: If we are to avoid the worst-case scenarios of climate change and environmental issues, we must drastically reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases. Such a transition to an ecologically sustainable society has far-reaching consequences on production systems and labour markets. Even so, little research has been done on how labour unions take on these cha(lle)nges, and what they might mean for them and their members. This lack of research is particularly true for Sweden, which is an interesting case for its high union density and unique labour market structure. For this reason, this study looks at what roles Swedish union organisations perceive for themselves in the climate transition, through the theoretical frameworks of Agenda 2030 and just transition. By conducting interviews with sustainability officers at the Swedish unions most engaged with ecological issues, this study found that they perceive several roles for themselves within a three-dimensional conceptualisation of sustainability. This opens a space for union organisations to take on ecological dimensions, whilst continuing to focus their efforts on the social and economic interests of their members. They thus work to ensure that the transition is just. They also identify various challenges that they face in these efforts, and opportunities which could serve to strengthen Swedish unionism if it were to take on ecological issues through a just transition framework.
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