Trade unions’ interpretation of a just transition in a fossil fuel economy

Trade unions have received little attention in sustainability transitions research, despite their capacity to influence policy decisions. In this article, Normann and Tellmann present a study of how key unions in Norway, a country with a large petroleum sector as well as high union level density, have moved their preferences on transition issues in the period 2007–2019.

With a document-based process analysis of trade unions’ changing policy preferences and interpretations of a just transition, a concept that aims to bridge the apparent gap between destruction and creation policies, we show how trade unions have used this concept to reconcile different positions among unions. While unions from petroleum related sectors are more opposed to phase-out policies compared to nonpetroleum unions, the solidarity principle among unions has caused some movement towards a joint support of a just transition. Yet, different unions promote different ideas of what a just transition means depending on their sector affiliation.

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Published Jan. 27, 2022 9:42 AM - Last modified Jan. 27, 2022 9:42 AM