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Unions making a green difference at work

The presence of green union reps is having a significant impact upon UK workplaces – encouraging a growing number of employers to adapt cost-saving energy efficiency measures and persuading colleagues to become more environmentally-aware at work, according to a new survey.

Delegates gathered at Congress House on Monday were presented with the results of the TUC 2012 green workplaces survey of 1,200 green reps which shows just how unions are making a difference.

The survey suggests that unions are having many more green-themed conversations with employers than they were when the survey was first carried out three years ago. Unions have also upped significantly the amount of environmentally-friendly activity going on at work.

The most popular methods reported by unions for bringing about greener workplaces included providing loans for cycling equipment so employees can leave their cars at home (35 per cent of survey respondents reported this), replacing old computer screens with more energy efficient ones (33 per cent), and encouraging staff to switch off lights, computers and other electrical equipment before going home (26 per cent).

But this year’s survey also pointed to an alarming degree of inaction from employers with a quarter (24 per cent) having no plans to replace energy inefficient display computer screens, 18 per cent not doing anything about overnight or weekend use of electricity and 17 per cent failing to reduce emissions from lights being left on out of hours.

The case of the Magor Brewery near Brigend illustrates the huge business benefits that can result when unions get involved in attempts to green the workplace. Unite reps at the South Wales brewery – which brews Stella Artois, Becks and Boddingtons – have helped company management save more than

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