Just Transition: Power in the hands of workers and their communities
This year, we’ve campaigned hard for a just transition away from fossil fuels.
Alongside Platform, in March we released “Our Power: Offshore workers’ demands for a just energy transition.” This ground-breaking report was the result of years of engagement with offshore oil and gas workers and their trade unions, and includes 10 demands for what a meaningful, worker and community led just transition should look like.
We’ve also seen the release of the Scottish Government’s draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition plan, with further discussion papers regarding plans for different sectors of Scottish life including Buildings and Construction, Land and Agriculture, and Transport. So far, /the plans leave much to be desired.
In contrast, we’ve seen the solidarity built between climate and labour activists grow massively over the last year. Workers and climate activists alike have been calling for a just transition in all high carbon sectors, creating huge momentum that the Scottish Government will have to follow in 2024.
Workers’ demands for transition
Throughout 2023, we’ve been focused on sharing the “Our Power” report and offshore oil and gas workers’ 10 demands for the energy transition. The demands focus on three key areas: “Our Transition”, “Our Rights”, and “Our Energy.” They range from investing in domestic manufacturing and assembly for renewables, to enhanced collective bargaining, to public ownership of energy.
Each of the demands includes specific asks of the UK Government, the Scottish Government, the Just Transition Commission, and so on. The report reaffirms that it is offshore workers who have the vital experience and expertise to lead us through the energy transition. They know what the practical barriers to transition are, and how to overcome them.
Next year, alongside our trade union partners, we’ll be focusing on turning some of these key demands into action. We will continue to campaign for a just transition away from fossil fuels for workers and their communities, moving to renewable energy that is publicly owned and operated for the public good.
Moving from plans into action
As we move into 2024, we need to see the same level of co-design with workers in all industry and government just transition planning. Next year, we’re due to see the finalised Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, draft sectoral just transition plans in transport, land and agriculture, and buildings and construction, and regional just transition plans for the Northeast and Moray, and Grangemouth.
For the sectoral plans, we hosted three roundtables with our allies in the Just Transition Partnership. Trade unions, community groups, and other key stakeholders were invited to provide their thoughts on what any upcoming just transition plans in these sectors should look like.
All these plans need to be developed with the core workers and communities most impacted. They must set out clear, costed pathways for transition, that address existing barriers. The Scottish Government must learn from where the draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan fell short and produce plans that mean workers and communities can feel secure about their futures.
Building a movement around just transition
Calls for a just transition have come from across the climate justice movement this year. We saw activists at Climate Camp Scotland in Grangemouth this year demanding a just transition for workers at the refinery. With the recent news that INEOS have decided to close the site in spring 2025, building on this momentum is more important than ever.
While private companies continue to renege on their transition commitments, workers and climate activists alike have continued to come together to demand a fair and fast phase out from oil and gas, and a genuinely just transition for workers and communities.