Friday 20 September 2019 6:02 am

DEBATE: Should companies be supportive of employees who want to take part in today’s climate strike?

Amelia Womack is deputy leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.
and Alex Deane

Should companies be supportive of employees who want to take part in today’s climate strike?

YES, says Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party.

Climate chaos does not mean business as normal, and it’s especially important that the business community sends this message.

Already, the climate emergency is likely to cost the world’s largest public companies nearly $1 trillion over the next five years.

The private sector must show leadership where governments have failed, demand decisive action to address climate catastrophe, and ensure that their models and supply chains aren’t stymied by rising temperatures.

The UK government is not moving quickly enough to adopt renewables, and we need more ambitious climate cutting targets. Declining air quality in towns and cities will have a knock on effect on productivity and wellbeing too, so it’s in everybody’s interest to support a cleaner, greener environment. And it’s not enough to tweet about climate chaos. We have to stand against it.

Employees striking today will be supporting the long-term interests of the businesses community, and employers must applaud their efforts.

NO, says Alex Deane, a Conservative commentator.

This proposal has about as much merit as the claim that students truanting from school are, for some reason, to be admired – that is to say, no merit at all.

Why should employers actively harm themselves by supporting such ludicrous virtue-signalling? Imagine explaining to a shareholder why you supported such value-destroying employee idiocy at your expense.

And what are employers to think of an employee who is dense enough to behave this way? You can draw plenty of negative conclusions about the worker who is so angry with something that isn’t your fault that he decides to withdraw his labour.

It’s about as clever as saying “I’m so angry about pollution that I’m going to headbutt this wall for a while.”

Employees who wish to show the world how climate-caring they are can satisfy themselves with the less harmful route of boring friends and colleagues into subsidising them while climbing mountains, running marathons, and undertaking various other leisure pursuits, just as usual.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.