No ban without a plan!

Unite launches major new campaign in defence of North Sea workers

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Unite has today (May 17) launched a major new campaign calling on the Labour party to commit to protecting oil and gas jobs and the UK’s energy security, while also investing in a robust just transition to green energy for North Sea workers.

The ‘No Ban without a Plan’ campaign – part of the union’s wider Unite for a Workers’ Economy initiative – urges Labour to rethink its net zero plan, which at present includes banning all new licences for new exploration and renewal of current projects.

Unite has called such a plan both premature and irresponsible. It would mean the UK becoming dangerously reliant on other global oil and gas powers for energy resources that it already possesses.

And with Labour lacking any coherent ‘green jobs’ plan or proposals for investing in wind manufacture, it would also mean risking the livelihoods of tens of thousands of families in Scotland and beyond.

Commenting on Unite’s new campaign, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Labour needs to pull back from this irresponsible policy. There is clearly no viable plan for the replacement of North Sea jobs or energy security.

“We should not be letting go of one rope until we have hold of another,” she added. “These types of transitions must have workers at the heart. Unite will not stand by and let these workers be thrown on the scrap heap. North Sea workers cannot be sacrificed on the altar of net zero.”

Unite is calling on Labour to adopt detailed plans for creating 35,000 new energy transition jobs in Scotland by 2030, including in wind power manufacturing and operations, hydrogen, carbon capture and decommissioning.

These must be permanent jobs that directly benefit local economies. They must also be unionised jobs with good pay, pensions and other conditions that are equivalent to workers’ current roles with no loss of income. All training must be provided for workers to transition to their new roles.

Unite is also calling for a plan for the UK to move toward a self-sufficient energy system. This will keep energy bills down so that consumers aren’t at the mercy of chaotic global energy markets. Key to this plan will be harnessing public sector purchasing power to directly benefit Scottish workers and their communities.

Today’s campaign launch included a special press conference with Sharon Graham at Unite Scotland’s offices, as well as the publication of editorials and further coverage in leading newspapers such as the Press & Journal and the Guardian.

Further promotion of the campaign will feature in a number of newspapers and news sites throughout the weekend. Billboard advertising in cities across Scotland (pictured) will highlight Unite’s campaign as well.

Unite organiser Joe Rollin explained the community and industrial aspects of the campaign.

 “As part of Unite for a Workers’ Economy, Unite’s organisers will drive our latest campaign at the grassroots level, mobilising support from local business, community groups and workers themselves who will be directly affected by potential oil and gas job losses,” he said.

“We cannot allow history to repeat itself, as when coal closures consigned entire communities to a future without hope for generations. That means a meticulously planned just transition driven by and for the communities affected. They deserve nothing less.”

You can find out more about Unite’s No Ban without a Plan campaign on our webpage here. Stay tuned on UniteLive for more coverage of the campaign.

By Hajera Blagg