Scotland’s politicians must turn the tide on ‘unjust transition’
The Just Transition Partnership has today (25/9/20) unveiled its demands for political party manifestos ahead of next year’s Scottish elections, to protect the existing workforce and deliver on green jobs promises needed to meet climate commitments in the next parliament.
The Partnership, a coalition of trade unions and environmental organisations, is calling for politicians from all political parties to commit to turning ‘just transition rhetoric’ into genuine action, emphasising that what we are enduring now is “an unjust transition.”
Scotland’s green economy has suffered major blows in recent weeks. SSE announced that a fabrication contract for Seagreen, the huge offshore wind project near Fife, has been awarded to a yard in China while the BiFab yards remain mothballed a few miles away. Workers at green bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis in Falkirk and wind turbine factory CS Wind in Campbeltown also face redundancy.
The Partnership is demanding that political parties lay out concrete plans for the delivery of a Just Transition for workers, communities and the climate by:
- Providing immediate support to workers facing redundancy in green industries or in the North Sea by investing in green public transport and developing renewable energy infrastructure.
- Tackling the root causes of the ‘unjust transition’ by ensuring future government support for the private sector is conditional on jobs commitments and emissions reductions.
- A nationally funded but local-authority led Green Public Works Programme building new, green infrastructure and directly supporting jobs for long-term unemployed and young people, paid at union-negotiated rates.
- Ensuring the transition is planned for the long-term across the economy with targets for decarbonisation, investment and job creation; and providing confidence to the workers and communities by bringing their voices into the decision making process.
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.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Just Transition Partnership’s demands of all political parties can be read here:
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:
The Just Transition Partnership wrote to the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham MSP in August to request an update on their progress with recommendations made by the Just Transition Commission in their Interim Report and Advice on a Green Recovery.
‘Disappointment has turned to anger’ – BiFab overlooked for Seagreen wind farm (19/9/20)
Alexander Dennis must ‘come clean’ over opportunistic job cuts and Turkey outsourcing plans (19/8/20)
Unite and Kintyre politicians criticise CS Wind inaction (14/8/20)