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08/03/2019 - Unions call for British jobs and British law in Offshore wind

offshorewindThe government has published its Offshore wind Sector Deal.

The strategy document, which promises to quadruple the number of jobs in the offshore wind industry to 27,000 by 2030, met with a critical response from unions.

GMB national secretary Justin Bowden said: “Trade unions are all about jobs, so any initiative that leads to more work, particularly for women who are currently underrepresented in the energy sector, is welcome.

“The truth however is that to date the so-called ‘green jobs revolution’ has largely been a figment of the imagination of politicians of all parties and those pushing for an over reliance on renewables – with all the risks to our future energy supply and economic competitiveness.

“The track record so far has been one of work for foreign companies or poorly paid, casualised employment. Just ask the workers at BiFab in Fife about new green jobs and a just transition.

“If Claire Perry’s vision is actually to be achieved with decent, well-paid and skilled jobs, then the Government will need new rules about renewable energy sources.

“Companies in receipt of taxpayer subsidy must be required to source the work and jobs in the UK, with a strict condition they cannot be registered in tax havens.

“The sector will also need to be covered by collective bargaining agreements.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT is concerned that the offshore wind industry has already adopted a regressive business model based on sub-contracting and de-regulation. Costs cut on that basis are a completely false economy and inhibit job creation.

“We need high employment and safety standards across the offshore energy sector, ensuring that UK law applies and is enforced for all current and future energy workers on the UK Continental Shelf. This would protect pay and conditions for workers across the offshore wind supply chain, from seafarers transporting infrastructure and expertise to the skilled women and men required to install wind turbines and connect them to the grid.

“It would also ensure that offshore oil and gas workers’ with the industry standard OPITO qualifications will be allowed to transfer between sectors free from the barriers unilaterally imposed by the Global Wind Organisation.

“The government’s proposals are woefully unambitious and represent business as usual for companies whose investment decisions are driven by the need to create shareholder profit. The country needs a viable, safe, skilled and secure offshore wind industry employing hundreds of thousands of workers, based on a model that sustainably exploits all our energy resources for decades to come.”