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GMB on North Sea future

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

GMB tells offshore industry executives: Workers must lead energy transition

North Sea workers must be in the vanguard of the new energy revolution, GMB told offshore industry executives in Aberdeen yesterday.

GMB General Secretary, Gary Smith and GMB Scotland Secretary, Louise Gilmour met oil and gas companies and urged them to place offshore workers at the heart of the energy industry’s transition to renewables.

They met with more than a dozen industry executives for wide-ranging discussions on the future of the sector at the headquarters of industry body Offshore Energies UK in Aberdeen.

How to improve industrial relations was high on the agenda along with a more influential role for unions in shaping strategy in the North Sea while Britain decarbonises and builds a secure supply of green energy, including new nuclear, hydrogen and wind.

GMB said the new network of renewables and development of carbon capture technology in the North Sea can only be built by harnessing the transferable skills and experience of offshore workers and encouraged offshore companies to continue investing in jobs, training and infrastructure as Britain plays catch-up in the global climate jobs race.

GMB General Secretary, Gary Smith said: “Scotland has heard a lot about the skilled, well-paid jobs in renewable energy but has seen precious few of them.

“These are the jobs of tomorrow but we must start creating them today and these discussions have helped detail the crucial role of the offshore sector.

“Investment offshore will underpin the new technology of carbon capture and renewable energy and create the quality, unionised jobs that will drive our progress to Net Zero.”

GMB last week urged Labour to reconsider a proposed ban on new oil and gas licences from 2030 claiming it would undermine UK energy security and risk the skills and training needed to create the thousands of new jobs in renewables.

Louise Gilmour, GMB Scotland secretary said: “The jobs supported by our offshore industry underpin communities across Scotland and will be crucial as the UK transitions to renewable energy.

“Oil and gas will be needed in our energy mix for decades to come and new investment offshore will be vital to ensuring we retain workers with the necessary skills and experience.

“Those workers will also be vital in harnessing the potential of green energy and carbon capture to create the new jobs needed to support families and communities across Scotland for generations to come.”

After the meeting, the GMB officials toured the multi-million pound South Harbour expansion, the largest marine infrastructure in the UK, with Port of Aberdeen CEO, Bob, Sanguinetti, and Russell Borthwick, CEO of Aberdeen Grampian Chamber of Commerce.

David Whitehouse, CEO Offshore Energies UK said: “It was good to have GMB in Aberdeen today to meet industry leaders and discuss the future of the offshore energy industry.  

“There is no simple choice between oil and gas and renewables, the reality is that we need both. The hardworking energy workers we have across the UK have the skills and expertise to get us to net zero and beyond, and we need to listen to them. We need a mix of energies and skills to drive the UK’s energy future and support decent jobs.”