Global South Unions Organise Against “Green Structural Adjustment,” Launch a Platform for a Public Pathway Alternative
December 8, 2022
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Global South Unions Organise Against “Green Structural Adjustment,” Launch a Platform for a Public Pathway Alternative

Upcoming Global Forum: Join the Discussion!

TUED will host a Global Forum on Wednesday, December 21 @ 8 am ET/New York (find your local times here)  during which we will hear about the launch of “TUED South” in Nairobi in mid-October

TUED prepared a “framing document” for the meeting. Details below.

We also hope to hear reports from comrades who attended COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, and the 5th ITUC World Congress in Melbourne.  Register for the Global Forum here.

TUED South Platform Launched

Seventy trade union leaders from three Global Union Federations, seven national centres, and two dozen trade unions altogether representing 27 countries gathered in Nairobi, Kenya between October 11-13, 2022 for the launch of TUED South, a trade union platform for a “public pathway” approach to a just energy transition led by the Global South.

Trade unions from the sectors of electricity, oil, mining, nuclear energy, transport, and public services contributed to a rich discussion based on union experiences and analysis from their countries, including: Kenya, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa, Tunisia, Namibia, Senegal, Benin, Uganda, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Niger, Tanzania, Gabon, Philippines, South Korea, Argentina, Brasil, Uruguay, Trinidad & Tobago, Colombia, and Mexico (as well as France, United States, and United Kingdom). Consult the full list of participants and their biographies here.

The three-day gathering laid the foundations for a South-focused trade union platform that will focus on how to strengthen the public pathway alternative to the “privatise to decarbonise” agenda of the G7, IMF, World Bank, and similar institutions.

For a more immersive summary of the TUED South launch, view our photos, press coverage, and 5-minute video (with a final, longer version underway).

TUED South Framework Document

One of the immediate priorities of TUED South is to arrive at a shared analysis of the challenges and opportunities facing a just energy transition in the South. Leading up to the Nairobi gathering, TUED circulated an initial draft of a framing document titled, Towards a Public Pathway Approach to a Just Energy Transition for the Global South.

As a result of the rich discussions in Nairobi and union feedback, numerous changes to the original document were made and several new subsections have been added. Now, 58,000 words and 127 pages, the paper is not a “quick read” —and it is still a work in progress. The updated draft can be found here in: English / Español / Français / Português. Please forgive the errors. Comments, criticisms, and general feedback are welcome and appreciated!

Summary of contents:

Part One examines the performance and main tenets of neoliberal climate and energy policy as they pertain to the South. Divided into three sections, the first section explains what we mean by neoliberal climate and energy policy and its role in shaping the policy discourse on energy and the respective roles of the North and South in efforts to transition away from fossil fuels. The second section interrogates the record of green growth and its theoretical underpinnings while the third section examines key energy and emissions trends, illustrating the ineffectiveness of “green growth” and the need for a public pathway approach.

Part Two delves into how a public pathway approach anchored in public ownership of energy offers policy options that might begin to address two main challenges, namely energy poverty and stagnation in the poorer countries of the South, and energy expansion in the high-growth developing economies such as China and India. Part Two includes an analysis of how development finance can be used to reclaim and restore public energy systems, thus reversing the process of privatisation and countering “green structural adjustment.” It shows how reclaimed utilities can be situated at the centre of a public pathway approach that can expand access to electricity in ways that public systems were able to do before they were undermined by the World Bank and the IMF in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Arresting energy expansion presents a more difficult issue for the public pathway approach. The document identifies 4 main tasks. These are:

  1. Slow the pace of carbon “lock in.” Engage in “managed decline.”
  2. Progressively change the energy mix by decarbonizing energy supply
  3. Restore energy planning, control supply chains, develop promising technologies
  4. Drive energy efficiency and conservation on a non-monetary, public goods, basis. Build the institutional framework for public-public partnerships

More Updates

Since the Nairobi meeting, five African national centres have joined TUED. They represent organised workers from Benin, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger and Senegal. This brings the number of union bodies in the network to 93. Join us in welcoming:

  1. Organização dos Trabalhadores de Mocambique, Central Sindical (OTM-CS)
  2. Trade Union Congress of Namibia
  3. Union Démocratique des Travailleurs du Sénégal (UDTS)
  4. COSI-Bénin
  5. Union des Syndicats des Travailleurs du Niger (USTN)

We welcome our new communications and Latin America outreach coordinator Lala Peñaranda to the TUED team. And lastly, we are proud to announce the launch of our new website,, available in English, Spanish, French, and Arabic. You can also follow, message, and tag us on our new Instagram account!