GMB Warns MSPs against ‘playing fast & loose’ with the livelihoods of workers across the energy sector


Scottish Parliament

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On Tuesday 15th of January the Scottish Parliament is to debate ‘Securing a Just Transition to a Carbon – neutral Economy’

Ahead of the debate the GMB union has criticised the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Commission (JTC) chaired by Professor Jim Skea, as ‘a good intentions committee’ and warned MSPs against ‘playing fast and loose’ with the livelihoods of workers across the energy sector.

GMB Scotland Organiser Gary Cook said:

“Energy workers are vital to the Scottish economy and their hard-fought terms and conditions mean they are one of the increasingly few examples today of working-class prosperity.

“But politicians driving the ‘just transition’ are playing fast and loose with their livelihoods. They call for the mothball of vital industries like oil and gas and nuclear, yet can’t muster the political courage to talk directly with these workers.

“It’s an agenda mired in hypocrisy. Our political elite are full of self-praise for their climate change ambitions but we ship US shale up the Forth, pipe Russian gas from Europe and very soon will benefit from electricity generated by new nuclear from Hinkley Point C.

“Meanwhile, a decade after we were promised ‘the Saudi Arabia of Renewables’, we are still fighting for scraps of work from our offshore windfarm projects to lift BiFab off its knees, while the bulk of the jobs and prosperity go to Europe, the UAE and the Far East.

“Bluntly, the JTC is a good intentions committee but ignores the very real energy needs of Scotland now and in the future along the views of the workers who are powering our economy, keeping the lights on and homes warm.”

The Parliament will debate the Scottish Government’s motion :

“That the Parliament supports the application of just transition principles in Scotland, acknowledging the need to plan, invest in and implement a transition to carbon-neutrality in a way that is fair for all.”

The debate comes at a time when concern has grown over the safety of Hunterston B when over 350 cracks were found in the nuclear reactor. The Scottish Government is opposed to the building of any new nuclear reactors. It sees renewable and low carbon energy sources as the future. It aims to produce 50% of Scotland’s energy needs by  2030 from Renewables.

Commenting on his appointment to Chair the Just Transitions Commission in September 2018 Professor Jim Skea said:

“The idea of a just transition is embedded in the Paris agreement. The challenge now is to turn the concept into practical action that shares widely and fairly the benefits of the low carbon transition. Scotland is taking a lead internationally, and I am flattered to be invited to chair the Commission. The challenge in two years is to come up with advice that is actionable and commands the support of stakeholders.”

hunterston power station

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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