ACOD requests an exemption of presence at work or lessons for the climate action on March 15th 2019 and calls on all staff members to participate to the demonstration in Ghent

Since a number of weeks demonstrations are being organized in our country every Thursday by school pupils mobilizing around the demand for an ambitious plan to cope with the climate crisis. After also some successful actions during the weekend they now call for a “Global Strike for Future” on March 15th 2019. Slowly but surely the call to enter the streets that day to support the climate demands is getting spread ever more widely. Academics, trade unions, NGO’s and other organizations and individuals have been calling publicly to participate in these actions. ACOD UGent also wants to take her responsibility in this debate, and calls on all staff members and students at UGent to participate in the demonstration in Gent, at 10 a.m. at the “Stadshal” (see https://www.facebook.com/events/1118975204930997/).

ACOD UGent takes note of the request of the “climate school strikers” to formulate a real climate plan able to provide a fundamental change in our way of production, work and living. As a trade union we want to contribute, taking into account our priorities on social justice. In our plan we pay attention to aspects of mobility, reconversion of polluting production, and the necessity of sound public services to cope with climate problems. You can find the full text on this web page.

At the same time we are also convinced that such a change is only possible when imposed by the strengthened power of broad layers of the population. The climate strike on March 15th 2019 is an exemplary moment for this. Therefore we have pleaded for a formal strike notice to enable everyone to participate in the climate actions on March 15th. Finally across the different branches of our trade union the democratic decision has been taken not to submit a formal strike notice, but still to express clear support for the actions on March 15th. In line with this decision we are calling on everyone to participate collectively in the climate action on March 15th.

Also it is our aim that all staff members and students of UGent should get the chance to participate without the need to fear any reprimands and without the need to use a day of leave. Therefore we have asked the rector to grant exemption of presence at work or lessons for everyone wanting to participate in the demonstration in Ghent on March 15th.

During the past weeks the rector has been expressing himself in a praising way on the climate actions organized by school pupils and students, and has also been focusing extensively on the efforts made by UGent in favor of the climate. We very much appreciate and support this stance. Consequently we think it logical that all staff members and students would be allowed on March 15th 2019 to participate in the climate action without fear of negative consequences or reprimands. This would again firmly underline the commitment of UGent in this debate.

We hope for a positive response from the rector, and hope to see you all at the climate demonstration on March 15th 2019 in Gent, at 10 a.m. at the “Stadshal” (next to the city hall of Ghent).