Ministers need to ensure that the estimated 27,000 jobs that will be created by the expansion of offshore wind farms are UK-based, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Thursday 7 March).

The government has announced a deal with the energy industry that could see a third of British electricity generated by offshore wind farms by 2030.

Offshore wind currently provides about seven per cent of UK power, but could increase to more than 30 per cent by the end of the next decade, providing 27,000 jobs in the sector.

Unite national officer for energy Peter McIntosh said: “While we welcome the announcement from Claire Perry, the minister of state for energy, we have a number of serious concerns.

“Firstly, we want to see that the government ensures that the proposed increase in jobs as a result of the offshore wind sector deal is concentrated in the UK.

“The proof of the pudding will be in the eating when it comes to increased jobs in this sector. We want this to be a bonanza of UK skilled employment opportunities.

“This is especially important given the challenges to the UK economy generated by continuing Brexit uncertainty.

“As the wind farm sector develops in the years up to 2030, there will be valuable contracts in the offing for companies and those contracts should go wherever possible to UK firms.

“We are also concerned that the proposed offshore energy passport - which will be recognised outside of UK  for offshore wind workers to transfer their skills to other offshore renewable and oil and gas industries - should not  be used to attack workers’ terms and conditions of employment, nor compromise health and safety regulations.

“Finally, the government must involve trade unions in the development of this sector deal to make sure the workers’ voice is heard, which is again extremely important in post-Brexit Britain when workers’ rights could be under threat.”

Unite has also today called for a ‘level playing field’ if Scotland is to secure the large-scale manufacturing contracts for its own offshore renewables sector. The union is seriously concerned that foreign firms may receive state aid, putting Scottish firms at a disadvantage

This comes after lucrative contracts for the fabrication of turbine jackets and floating platforms from the Moray East and Kincardine offshore wind farm projects were awarded to firms in the UAE, Belgium and Spain, leaving BiFab yards in Fife empty handed.

Unite is urging the first minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish parliament to intervene.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065

Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.