Climate change and jobs

Oil and gas workers’ futures

Reading time: 3 min

Unite delegate Cliff Bowen spoke in support of composite five on behalf of Unite “and my members in the oil and gas industry.

“Congress, this motion raises important ideas about what our movement can do to meet the climate crisis head on.

“But the reality is we must start by recognising a green future will not be won on the conference floor, but on the shop floor.

“From the North Sea to refineries, it is workers in these industries who have the power to move their employers and transition their industries to a green future within decarbonised workplaces,” he said.

“But Congress, we can only do that with your full support. That must mean a strategy based on the power of collective bargaining – and the principle of defending every job.

“And Congress, when we talk to these workers – whose jobs and livelihoods are all too often disregarded in these debates – we have to look them in the eye and show them we are serious.

“That means ambitious and credible industrial plans to defend every single job here and now. We understand the need to de-carbonise and we are on it.

“Congress, we know what happens with so-called transition strategies that don’t put workers first.

“The experience of the miners – the cruelty with which their industries and communities were destroyed – has haunted our movement for a generation. We must not allow that to be repeated today. We need a just transition.

“We cannot usher in that devastation to Aberdeenshire, Humberside, or Grangemouth or Pembrokeshire – just so we can end up importing fossil fuels at greater expense in money and emissions.”

He continued, “I believe nobody at this Congress wants us to see a repeat of the past.

“That is why we must demand fully costed plans with cast iron guarantees for protecting jobs. That means concrete plans for creating like-for-like jobs or better, which are endorsed and led by workers in these industries.

“The principle is simple. Nothing about us without us. We cannot abandon these working class communities. Congress, it is on those terms that we support this composite.”

By Amanda Campbell

Pic by Mark Thomas