A partnership of Trade Unions and environmental groups,(1) is calling on the Scottish Government to move urgently to deliver a just transition following the publication of the final report of the Just Transition Commission today (23/3/21).

The report of the Scottish Government’s advisory body calls for the delivery of the just transition to be a ‘national mission’ and for urgent measures to create new green jobs and protect the livelihoods of impacted workers and communities in Scotland. The recommendations include:

  • piloting targeted free public transport,
  • creating a publicly owned energy company with powers to lead the transformation of the energy sector and
  • sectoral and national Just Transition Action Plans.

The Just Transition Partnership campaigned for the creation of the Commission two years ago and has welcomed a number of the report’s practical steps needed to meet climate change targets while making sure that no-one is left behind. The Partnership says the report must now trigger urgent action from the Scottish Government to deliver a just transition while opening up a debate about how its aspirations should be delivered.

The Partnership has previously criticised Scotland’s slow progress in implementing just transition measures and the recent update of the Climate Change Plan for failing to set out how Ministers intend to support the workforce, employers and communities.

The update, which sets the path for emissions reductions over the next 11 years, fails to implement the just transition provisions of the 2019 Climate Change Act despite the Just Transition Commission’s explicit recommendation that it should. The Scottish Government is yet to act on most of the recommendations of the Commission’s previous reports.

Roz Foyer, General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress said:

“We echo the Commission’s call for just transition to become a national mission, and welcome many of the recommendations in its final report, which must serve as a clarion call to the Scottish Government to urgently ramp up the policy, planning, direction and investment needed to deliver on our climate targets in a way that delivers good unionised jobs and community benefit.

“With action in the next decade crucial in the fight against the climate emergency, recommendations such as those for free public transport pilots must be acted upon swiftly in the new Parliament and then rolled out across the country to create new green jobs and support local communities while curbing our emissions.

“The action we must take to cut emissions and play our part in tackling climate breakdown will only be sustained if it is fair, and workers and communities across Scotland feel the benefits. Now the Just Transition Commission has finished its job, the onus is on the Scottish Government to act.”

Dr. Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland said:

“This report points us in the right direction of travel for a just transition, though it hasn’t yet mapped the whole of the route ahead; it must not sit gathering dust in the same way as the Commission’s interim advice has done. There is no more time for delay if the Scottish Government is serious about turning their just transition rhetoric into reality.

“We are in the middle of a climate emergency and at the UN climate talks in Glasgow this year, it will be the actions of the Government which will be scrutinised, not reports and recommendations produced. The Commission’s final report must be the trigger for getting on with the task at hand. For workers and the communities around BiFab in Fife or CS Wind in Campbeltown, more warm words about just transition simply won’t cut it.

“Post-Election the new Scottish Government must urgently transform Scotland’s approach, to create green jobs and a fairer economy, building on the recommendations from this report including more support for green buses, creating a publicly owned energy company with powers to lead the transformation of the energy system and sectoral and national Just Transition Action Plans developed by workers, communities and environmentalists.”

The Just Transition Partnership is preparing to hold an event after the Scottish Parliament election to bring together trade unionists and climate activists to discuss the urgent need for a fundamentally new approach from the Scottish Government if a just transition is to be realised. The Partnership will be encouraging MSPs from all parties in the new Scottish Parliament to engage with the Partnership to ensure their approach to just transition reflects the urgency of the climate emergency and the opportunity to transform our economy, creating decent green jobs and tackling social inequalities.


Notes to Editors
1. The Just Transition Partnership was formed by Friends of the Earth Scotland and the Scottish Trade Union Congress in 2016. Membership includes Unite Scotland, UNISON Scotland, UCU Scotland, CWU Scotland, PCS Scotland, and WWF Scotland.
Read our Joint Statement on Just Transition https://foe.scot/resource/joint-statement-just-transition/

2. The Final Report of the Just Transition Commission

3. In their interim report, the Just Transition Commission recommended that the provisions of the 2019 Act should be applied to the update of the Climate Change Plan: https://www.gov.scot/publications/transition-commission-interim-report/

4. The Climate Change Act 2019 requires:
From paragraph 35 (20) of Climate Change (Emissions Reductions Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019
“with reference to the just transition principles (see section 35C)—
(a) explain how the proposals and policies set out in the plan are expected to affect different sectors of the Scottish economy and different regions in Scotland, including how they are expected to affect employment in those sectors and regions, and
(b) set out the Scottish Ministers’ proposals and policies for supporting the workforce, employers and communities in those sectors and regions”.

5. The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee’s recent report on the draft CCPu made strong recommendations on ensuring that Just Transition action and planning is embedded throughout. This includes setting out how the CCPu refers to each of the detailed recommendations set out by the Just Transition Commission in its Green Recovery Report.
ECCLR Committee report on the CCPu is at:

Just Transition Commission Green Recovery Report