In line with motions passed at UK UCU congress, UCU has submitted a motion to TUC congress in September calling for unions and student associations to hold 30 minutes stoppages in solidarity with the global school strike for climate justice on 20 September. You can find more about UCU’s call here.
UCU Scotland president, Carlo Morelli, has produced the presentation below for branches to use as a base for raising awareness of the action and UCU’s call:
There is also a supporting video here.
Carlo has also produced the draft letter below for branches to send to their institution’s principal calling for pension fund disinvestment. The letter includes details of those institutions who have already divested.
Re: Divestment of Pension Fund
I’m writing on behalf of UCU, which represents academic and professional services staff across our university, to request that you take steps to divest the university’s endowment from all fossil fuel companies. UCU has policy calling for all universities to ask the Pension fund to start divestment.
On 19 May 2019, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a state of climate emergency. This followed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in October 2018 which demanded ‘rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society’ in less than 12 years (before 2030) to meet the demands to the 2015 Paris Agreement and keep global temperature increases below 1.5°C warming, and therefore avoid total climate breakdown and mass extinction.
Removing investment for fossil fuel companies is a key part of the changes that are necessary in this relatively short period of time. We all must do our bit. Already, across the UK and Ireland, more than 70 universities have divested their endowments. You can see the full list on the People & Planet website here: peopleandplanet.org/fossil-free-victories
In Scotland, nearly all of our major universities have now committed to divestment:
Glasgow University in 2014, Queen Margaret University and Heriot-Watt University in 2015, Abertay Dundee and University of the West of Scotland in 2016, University of St Andrews in 2017, University of Edinburgh in 2018 and University of Stirling earlier this year.
Others shamefully are being left behind. As more and more young people become aware of the devastating impact extracting and burning fossil fuels is having on our climate, the fact that all universities in Scotland have still not committed to disinvesting in fossil fuels does not make sense. It is not good for Higher Education’s public image, nor for maintaining our educational values, nor in terms of good business sense as carbon reduction legislation kicks in and these investments become ‘stranded assets’. What is more divestment is an incredibly simple process and will signal the direction universities intend to move in terms of meeting our obligations to reduce our impact and fight climate change.
Many Fund Managers now have ethical/fossil free schemes, which make divestment incredibly simple. All you need do is give the instruction, they will do the rest. People & Planet have suggested universities use Sarasin to complete their divestments. http://www.sarasinandpartners.com/ We therefore request that you ensure that ethical/fossil free investment is at the core of your decisions over which Fund Manager to recruit.
We would be keen to come to discuss this urgent issue with you further.
We look forward to the university taking responsibility for its own impact on the environment and committing to divest in the near future.