Unite warns Labour not to abandon North Sea workers with a ban on exploration

Labour’s plans for the North Sea oil and gas sector have been made too soon and risk the jobs of workers, says Unite. NOTE: The views expressed here are not necessarily endorsed by the Edinburgh Evening News

According to Unite General Secretary, Sharon Graham the current Labour policy for reaching Net Zero will lead to more imports of oil and gas, when there are still supplies in UK waters. She added that Labour had “Absolutely no” plan on building wind turbines anywhere in the UK, a key way to create “green” jobs in the tranisiton away from fossil fuels.

The union has a petition calling for a change in Labour policy. Read it here.

Unite has also produced a list of urgent demands. Here, Graham lists them:

There needs to be 35,000 new energy transition jobs by 2030 in Scotland

Permanent jobs in areas currently reliant on North Sea oil and gas are needed – sectors such as wind power manufacturing and operations, hydrogen, carbon capture and decommissioning. This will require £1.1 billion per year in investment but the returns mean it will pay for itself and it is a relatively small amount when compared to the £36 billion North Sea oil companies made in profit last year.

Don’t abandon North Sea workers

As part of the transition away for oil and gas, good union jobs are needed for North Sea workers. That means the pay, pensions and other conditions that they currently have will need to be replicated at least. There will also need to be plans for proper training if workers are not going to be left behind.

Britain needs energy security

There needs to be an end to global market chaos which is pushing up bills and putting everyone’s future at risk. Self-sufficiency is the way forward in the energy sector with an aim of 75% of supplies being local. This means giving the public sector purchasing power so Scottish workers and communities can be heled, not hindered by rising prices and a risk to supplied.

No Ban Without a Plan

Graham said: “Labour is acting irresponsibly. With no workable plan to move away from North Sea oil and gas, jobs and energy security are both at risk. Net Zero is a laudable and correct aim but workers cannot be sacrificed on its altar and thrown on the scrap heap.”

she added: “Labour need a change in policy, and they need to do the right thing for North Sea workers. No ban without a plan.”

You can read more about Unite in the North Sea sector here.