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Unions and environmental groups call for end to ‘unjust transition’

Bifab Miliband
The BiFab yard at Arnish on Lewis.

Trade unions and environmental groups are calling for political party manifestos to  include commitments to deliver on green jobs promises.

The Just Transition Partnership is urging politicians to protect the existing workforce and to “turn the tide on unjust transition” ahead of next year’s Scottish elections.

The renewables sector north of the border has been dealt a number of blows in recent weeks and there are concerns the planned green recovery post-Covid-19 is being jeopardised.

GMB Scotland launched its campaign to protect jobs yesterday after Fife-based supply chain firm BiFab missed out on work for the £3 billion Seagreen offshore wind project.

Meanwhile, workers at green bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis in Falkirk and wind turbine factory CS Wind in Campbeltown also face redundancy.

Seats in Holyrood will be up for grabs when voters in Scotland head to the polls on 6 May 2021.

The partnership is urging political parties to publish “concrete plans” for the delivery of a just transition for workers, communities and the climate.

It has made a number of demands including investment in green public transport, introducing a requirement for government support for the private sector to be conditional on jobs commitments and draing up targets for decarbonisation.

Dave Moxham, deputy general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress said: “It is vital that we act to cut emissions, and do so quickly, but that must be done in a way which protects and enhances the livelihoods of workers and communities.

“It is almost a year since the concept of a just transition was enshrined in Scotland’s new climate law, but since then we’ve moved backwards and instead are in the midst of an unjust transition. When workers face redundancy at CS Wind and Alexander Dennis, promises of green jobs tomorrow are meaningless when support is needed today.”

“Continuing with the market-led approach seen so far will not suddenly start to produce new results whether in creating jobs or cutting emissions. Politicians of all parties must be much more interventionist and willing to take on corporate interests if they are to deliver a truly just transition.”

Ryan Morrison, just transition campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland said: “There is less than a year until the next Scottish Parliament elections and the opportunity to show people that Scotland is serious about planning and implementing a just transition is closing rapidly. The dominative narrative about green jobs in Scotland is that they are going overseas.”

“It should come as no surprise that big business will seek cheaper parts and lower-paid labour where there are no rules to stop them. Whilst welcome, the recent proposals in the Programme for Government are not enough to turn the tide of a green economy that’s heading offshore.

“We can’t leave this transition to the private sector, it is time for politicians of all parties to lay out their intentions over the crucial next Parliamentary term, to ensure we deliver on our climate commitments while creating green jobs and building a fairer economy for workers and communities.”

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