Just Transition in the North Sea  

Platform’s Just Transition campaign seeks a well-managed phase out of oil and gas production in the North Sea. This includes preventing future oil licensing rounds, halting fossil fuel subsidies and, most importantly, ensuring that Just Transition measures are implemented during the phase out (i.e. large-scale job creation in clean industries, re-training and re-skilling workers, and safeguarding of worker rights as outlined in Sea Change[1]).

For Platform, a Just Transition requires the inclusion of oil and gas workers in any substantial decision-making, and as such, we centre worker consultation in our research and campaigning: our campaigns must be shaped by what workers want from their governments and employers.

Last year, Platform ran the first large-scale survey of 1,383 oil and gas workers (roughly 5% of the offshore workforce) asking about the oil price crisis, job security and the future of the industry.

Notably, over 81% were willing to change industries, over 50% were interested in training for renewables and offshore wind, and over 90% had never heard the term ‘Just Transition’.

You can read more about the survey and find case studies in the subsequent report, OFFSHORE: Oil and gas workers views on industry conditions and the energy transition[2].  

 

Following the OFFSHORE report, this project works to:

  1. Build oil and gas workers’ leadership of the just transition agenda, through developing a worker-led set of transition demands, supporting workers to advocate for a just transition, including through their trade unions, and building solidarity between environmental and labour movement struggles;
  2. Push UK and Scottish governments to meet workers’ demands through policy and investments e.g. guaranteeing training provision in line with workers’ demands.

In March 2021, Platform held the first of many workshops for oil and gas workers to talk about their visions and concerns related to the energy transition. You can find out more about the workshops here[3].

 

What does a ‘Just Transition’ look like in practice

Communities on the front lines are often left out of generating solutions and as a result, solutions often fail to deliver justice. As members of these communities, workers understand the industry, understand what retraining and up-skilling they require, and have the right to plan their futures. Any successful granular modelling of retraining or re-skilling requires their input, and any policy proposal’s legitimacy rests on their involvement.

A transition can only be just when the workers affected have a say in the futures of their livelihoods, communities and climate. 

 

Values underpinning the campaign

Platform approaches this campaign with the understanding advocating for a just transition is only possible with a better understanding of the visions workers and communities have for their futures.

Platform also understands that the environmental movement must do better at building links and solidarity with the labour movement. First and foremost, this includes listening to communities that will be economically impacted by any proposed transition – even one that is considered ‘just’ by members of the environmental movement. Front lining the perspectives and needs of workers within the oil and gas industry is critical for any policy development or campaigning on behalf of a transition to renewable energy. 

 

Listen to our Worker Panel (2020) on a Just Transition here: 

 

Project team

Gabrielle Jeliazkov

Gabrielle is taking a worker-first approach to conversations around an oil and gas transition in the North Sea. Gabrielle has a background in trade union organising, communications and research.

She worked on the Fight for $15 campaign in Montreal, QC, and as a union organiser for the Deliveroo/UberEats campaign in London, UK. She has conducted research on discriminatory surveillance through the London School of Economics and worked on membership engagement and communications for United Voices of the World union.

You can find her at:

[email protected]

Rosemary Harris 

Advocacy campaigner Rosemary Harris has joined Platform from Friends of the Earth, where she developed political campaign strategy, working with local grassroots campaign groups as well as in-house campaign teams to identify points of leverage and influence legislation and debate in parliament.

As a trade union rep in her previous workplace, she secured management action on the gender pay gap, and organised solidarity actions and communications for industrial action in the energy sector.

You can find her at:

[email protected]

Endnotes:
  1. Sea Change: https://platformlondon-org.exactdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/SeaChange-final-r1.pdf
  2. OFFSHORE: Oil and gas workers views on industry conditions and the energy transition: https://platformlondon.org/p-publications/offshore-oil-and-gas-workers-views/
  3. here: https://platformlondon.org/2021/02/08/taking-control-building-workers-power/