We are heading for an unjust transition. Already 155,000 jobs in Oil and Gas have been lost since 2014. Without a clear transition plan shaped by workers, there will continue to be a loss of jobs. There must be a serious ramping up of the renewable sector or we face a continued loss of energy sector jobs.
Oil Majors are starting to pull out of the North Sea. Just last year Shell pulled out of the Cambo oil field project as they deemed it to be unprofitable. Shell announced on February 15th it is wanting to sell its shares in the Clipper and Lemon Alpha Oil Fields.
The job losses have meant oil and gas workers are increasingly overworked and underpaid. There has been an increase in 3 weeks on/3 weeks off shift patterns, and the use of subcontracted workers which allows as much as a 25% pay cut. UK minimum wage also only applies within UK waters. There was a case of workers decommissioning the BP Miller platform being paid £2.70 an hour.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has estimated that there has been an average 20% fall in staffing levels on oil rigs, with the remaining offshore staff working an average of 300 hours more per year for the same pay as in 2014.
Scottish Trade Union Congress estimates between 156,000 – 367,000 jobs could be created in the green energy sector.
However, the shift towards renewables is not guaranteed to be a just transition. The contract for manufacturing the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore wind farm was given to an Indonesian company when the Bifab facility in Fife could have built it.
To ensure that any jobs lost to the decline of the oil and gas industry are not just replaced but exceeded by the jobs created through a green energy transition, campaigning around Just Transition must begin now! Start the conversation with colleagues and family members. Start organising for a better future today!