UNION

Give communities the power to lead the green jobs revolution

Energy - 20 Sep 2019

Press Office

Press Office

Printable PDF

Today, school children all around the world are striking to demand climate action. 

And fair play to them.

Outside of the classroom, workers occupy their failing yards and whole communities take to the streets. The elite’s wilful neglect of the communities that once drove the UK economy is there for all to see.

It’s a story of our leaders’ failure to put people or the planet before the interests of a broken economic system. 

For working class communities, the much touted ‘green jobs revolution’ is in danger of completely passing us by. 


Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter
 

I’m a dad, who wants the planet to be in a fit shape for my kids and their kids after them. I’m also a General Secretary who wants proud energy workers to have safe, secure and skilled work.

It should not be seen as controversial to want - nor is it beyond our collective ability to deliver - an energy solution that reduces emissions, creates decent jobs, keeps the lights on and the economy moving and doesn’t fleece the average bill payer.
 

Image: byronv2 | Flickr

The bulk of the wind jackets our members will see from their living room windows will be manufactured in Indonesia for an Italian contractor, and transferred 7,000 miles on diesel burning ships back to the Fife coast where local people will pay for them through their electricity bills. 

Instead our energy and energy supply chain is dominated by overseas companies and poorly paid, casualised employment. The UK offshore wind industry has been carved-up by Far-East finance, Saudi sovereign wealth funds and state-backed European competitors. 

While other countries bend the rules to keep contracts on their shores, we bend over backwards to send jobs over seas. If these rules can’t be made to work for UK workers, then we need new rules. 

I want a healthy planet for my kids and skilled, secure work for my members

Take Fife as an example - a proud area which supported 20,000 manufacturing jobs during the North Sea oil and gas boom. Now, yards lay empty and workers laid off as the community begs for scraps from the table of a £2 billion pound EDF project. 

The bulk of the wind jackets our members will see from their living room windows will be manufactured in Indonesia for an Italian contractor, and transferred 7,000 miles on diesel burning ships back to the Fife coast where local people will pay for them through their electricity bills. 

This strategy is negligent at best, vindictive and cruel at its worst.  

Communities are crying out for the chance to make things again. To feel that pride of being the engine room of the nation, to lead the green industrial revolution. 

The communities decimated by Thatcher and since blighted by the explosion of insecure work and the Amazon economy are crying out for the chance to make things again. To feel that pride of being the engine room of the nation, to lead the green industrial revolution. 

And in making them so, as a nation we would tackle so many of the different challenges we face.

Retrofitting and insulation of homes reduces emissions, lowers bills and can create skilled, unionised jobs.

Switched On

GMB's UK energy campaign

New nuclear energy would bring down bills, reduce our carbon footprint and create thousands of good construction and steel jobs. And crucially, must be underpinned by a standard ‘rate for the job’ - ending undercutting and the exploitation of migrant labour that led many to vote for Brexit. 

If these rules can’t be made to work for UK workers, then we need new rules

Investment in green gases like Hydrogen would help decarbonisation of the gas system while preserving infrastructure and securing gas jobs for the next generation. 

Right now that vision is a long way from being realised. From Harland and Wolff and Bifab to Appledore and Cammel Laird – yards are closing, jobs are going and British industry is losing skills that a No Deal scenario would assign to history.
 

Sellafield worker & GMB member Joseph Ghayouba speaks at Labour Conference

Share on Facebook


This did not happen by accident. It’s the product of a lack of political will and a political class that has let down working people and the planet time and time again. 

And so it can change. The labour movement can unite around the economic imperatives for tackling climate change, as well as the environmental ones, ensuring that workers and communities are part of a conversation - transition being done with, not to them. 

This issue matters to every worker, every home, every classroom and every community - the time for political inaction has passed. 
 

 

The labour movement can unite around the economic imperatives for tackling climate change, as well as the environmental ones, ensuring that workers and communities are part of a conversation.

Image from the Battle for Bifab, January 2018

Latest energy news from GMB

 
Join more than 600,000 people and become a GMB member today
Join Us!