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Climate ChangeAn abuse of power staff

An abuse of power staff

“They own stakes, own rigs themselves. It gives them a greater responsibility. It might be ours, we’d be a part of the large machine, we own it, we run it and it’s for us.”

Surveyed staff want fair pay and protections across the sector, arguing that we cannot model offshore wind within the broken image of the oil industry.

This research shows:

  • Whistleblowing protections don’t apply to self-employed staff, who make up a considerable proportion of an increasingly casualised workforce, leaving many staff vulnerable to blacklisting and victimisation for speaking out. 
  • Training standards body GWO (wind) has up to now failed to return to an agreement with OPITO (oil & gas) and other bodies on standardising training across the offshore sector, meaning duplication and additional costs to staff.

The present energy system ends in: 

  • Globally, just five oil and gas firms made almost $200billion profit in 2022.
  • Low taxation means corporations within the UK take home the very best proportion of revenue of any country –  the UK Government took lower than a tenth of what the Norwegian Government took in taxes per barrel of oil in 2019. 
  • Despite huge profits, 73 per cent of oil and gas corporations invest nothing in renewable energy production within the UK. 

The demands have been backed by over 1,000 surveyed offshore oil and gas staff, alongside major unions and organisations working within the energy and climate sector, including the RMT, Unite Scotland, Unison Scotland and Uplift, amongst others.


The demands are comprehensive of their scope, transformative of their scale, and deliverable now. Because it stands, offshore staff across the RMT, Unite and GMB wish to industrial motion over existing pay and conditions, with greater than 10 per cent of the workforce being balloted by Unite alone.

A worker-led just transition would reinvest money in communities through a sovereign wealth fund and share the advantages of our energy system fairly. The UK is losing out on revenue that might support households and public services, while private, polluting corporations profit.

Neither the Conservative government nor the Labour Opposition have recommend concrete plans for a real just transition for staff and essentially the most impacted communities, campaigners say.

At the identical time, the UK Government has recently begun the technique of handing out licences to probe for more oil and gas. 

The windfall tax actively incentivises extraction and compromises climate commitments, allowing polluting corporations to ‘offset’ as much as 91 per cent of their tax liability against increased oil and gas extraction.


Meanwhile, we’re yet to see the progress we want from Labour’s Just Transition Working Group. The party’s flagship Great British Energy, while a promising start, falls wanting the great changes needed across the entire energy system. 

Platform and Friends of the Earth Scotland call on the UK and Scottish Governments to back the fully costed demands.

Gabrielle Jeliazkov, just transition campaigner at Platform, said: “The long run of the UK’s energy system ought to be within the hands of staff and communities.

“Industry profiteering and government inaction has left us with soaring bills, declining working conditions and no plan for an energy transition. Within the midst of the climate and value of living crises, offshore oil and gas staff have developed a way forward.

“Politicians must deliver on these demands. We cannot trust obstructive industry bosses working in their very own interests to develop solutions that protect staff, communities and the climate.”


Mary Church, head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Our current energy system is destroying our climate, is unaffordable to tens of millions and is failing the individuals who work in it. Climate science is crystal clear that we’ve got to rapidly phase out fossil fuels if we wish a liveable future.

“Failure from politicians to properly plan and support the transition to renewables is leaving staff totally adrift on the whims of oil and gas corporations, and the planet to burn. The Scottish/UK Government must pick up these demands and run with them as a part of their just transition plan for the energy sector.”

Jake Molloy, a regional organiser on the RMT said: “The workforce should be fully engaged, involved, and empowered in the method if we’re to realize an actual just transition. Politicians must wake as much as the incontrovertible fact that we want a latest model.

“The present lack of an actual transition plan from politicians and industry is failing the prevailing workforce, fuelling discontent and disillusionment which is obvious with the growing variety of disputes and industrial motion. These demands are the beginning of an energy plan that may deliver reasonably priced and secure energy, through secure employment across the energy sector.

“We’d like an industry that protects domiciled and migrant staff, who should be paid as UK staff and never exploited for greater profit. We’d like a producing base to support latest developments and decommissioning. The voice of the workforce should be heard.”

This Writer

Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This text relies on a press release from Platform and Friends of the Earth Scotland. The names Mark and Julie have been used to guard the identity of the employees being quoted.


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