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Holyrood must give more support to North Sea oil workers in order to deliver a just green transition, unions and politicians say

UNIONS and politicians have said that the support for North Sea oil and gas workers must be greater from the Scottish government if targets for a just transition and net-zero emissions are to be met. 

Scotland’s transport and net zero secretary Michael Matheson announced multimillion-pound funding yesterday for projects to reduce emissions in the North Sea oil sector, with money being matched by the oil and gas industries.

Mr Matheson confirmed £16.5 million for seven energy schemes being led by the Net Zero Technology Centre.

The SNP MSP, unveiling the funding alongside business leaders, said that the government is wholly committed to a just transition to net zero, which ensures no-one is left behind.

Energy workers’ representatives have said that any move away from oil and gas cannot put existing staff out of pocket, pointing to suggestions of a training passport, adding that unions must be a part of this planning.  

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This is a key part of the just transition mechanism for offshore oil and gas workers which is in danger of being neglected and we cannot allow that to happen. 

“Public funding for autonomous technologies also needs to be handled with caution, otherwise jobs and skills will be lost and the security of energy supplies in Scotland and the rest of the UK risk being compromised.”

MSPs in the north-east of Scotland also warned that any move towards greener energy production in the sector must be worker-led, backing a training passport. 

Socialist MSP Mercedes Villalba said: “This is another example of the SNP government throwing money at a problem with little democratic involvement of the people it will affect.

“If the SNP are serious about a just transition, it must be worker-led.”

STUC general secretary Roz Foyer said: “Whilst much of this investment is welcome, it does not go far enough to tackle the grave challenges that we are facing.

“What we need is large scale public intervention that will ensure that the move to Net Zero will benefit workers.

"All public money given should come with conditions attached: decent wages, local employment, and recognition of unions, while far greater levels of public ownership is required in areas such as energy and public transport.”


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