Scottish businesses back Unite’s oil and gas campaign

“No ban without a plan” letter unveiled in Aberdeen. 

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Business representatives, oil and gas workers and Unite officials unveiled a giant letter this morning (27 June) at Aberdeen Maritime Museum.

Nearly 200 firms from Scottish towns dependent on the oil and gas industry have signed an open letter backing Unite’s call for Labour to drop its policy of banning new North Sea exploration licenses until a plan to replace jobs is operational.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Until Labour has a concrete plan for replacing North Sea jobs and ensuring energy security, the ban on new oil and gas exploration licenses should not go ahead.

“Labour must not allow oil and gas workers to become this generation’s coal miners. Scotland’s oil and gas communities are crying out for a secure future and that is what Labour must deliver.”  


The letter was signed by local businesses across Aberdeen, Falkirk, Shetland, Bo’ness, Cruden Bay and Peterhead. 

It states: 

“The oil and gas industry is a hugely important employer, providing good quality jobs for local people, on whose custom businesses like ours depend. Its future represents the future of our community.

“UK Labour’s current policy on net zero for the North Sea is to ban all new licenses but currently, they have no detailed plan on a fair ‘workers’ transition to greener energy and to save 30,000 jobs in Scotland.

“This could lead to us importing more oil and gas when we have it on our doorstep. Secondly, there is still absolutely no plan on wind power manufacture, in Scotland and the UK, or commensurate new ‘green’ jobs for North Sea workers.

1. Jobs: Create 35,000 new energy transition jobs in Scotland by 2030.

We need investment in permanent, local jobs in industries like wind power manufacturing and operations, hydrogen, carbon capture and decommissioning. Costing only an additional £1.1 billion per year in investment that will pay for itself. That’s just a fraction of the £36 billion in the profits oil companies made from the North Sea last year.

2. Conditions: North Sea workers must not be left behind. Transitioning North Sea workers need good union jobs with pay, pensions and other conditions that are commensurate with their current roles, as well as the provision of all necessary training. The jobs they move into can’t leave them worse off.

3. Security: Make Britain energy self-sufficient.

We need to work towards a self-sufficient energy system – with 75 per cent local content of energy – harnessing public sector purchasing power to benefit Scottish workers and communities. No more profiteering, with global market chaos pushing up bills and threatening our future.

We are calling on our politicians to have a concrete plan for jobs, conditions and security for our North Sea workers.”

Mark Milne, owner of Aberdeen’s Spiders Web bar, said: “At Spiders Web, oil and gas workers keep our doors open and our business busy. Losing this industry would be devastating for us and the entire community.

“We have customers from all over the country who support their families from oil and gas work. We back the campaign wholeheartedly as these workers fight to secure the future of their industry and the future of businesses like mine.”

Billfinger oil and gas worker, Kyle Griffiths, said: “I’ve dedicated my entire adult life to the oil and gas industry. Now, I face an uncertain future. The loss of these jobs is an assault on our livelihoods and a threat to the stability of our families. We demand a plan before any ban.”

You can find out more about the Unite campaign and its key elements on the No ban without a plan webpage.

By Keith Hatch