RMT calls for Green New Deal following Labour offshore workers protections pledge

RMT calls for Green New Deal  following Labour offshore workers protections pledge

5 June 2024

RMT Press Office:

Offshore workers union, RMT today welcomed Labour's commitment to advancing worker protections in the energy sector, but that it must be part of a broader Green New Deal.

Labour have announced that they will introduce a skills passport, protect offshore jobs and ensure workers can transition to a greener energy sector in the future.  
The skills passport, originally outlined in the UK Government’s 2021 North Sea Transition Deal, aims to facilitate employment opportunities for offshore workers by aligning training and certification standards between the oil, gas, and renewable (wind) sectors.
This commitment came about due to sustained pressure from RMT, other offshore unions, and pro-worker green groups, who highlighted the misalignment of current training standards.
Despite the setbacks, renewable and oil and gas employers reaffirmed their commitment to the digital skills passport last month.
Mick Lynch, RMT General Secretary, stated, “We welcome Labour's commitment to supporting offshore workers through the digital skills passport.
"However, this initiative must be integrated into a broader, ambitious Green New Deal.
"The protection of oil and gas workers’ jobs, along with the preservation and enhancement of their skills and livelihoods, must be central to this vision.
"Only through such comprehensive measures can we ensure a just transition for all workers."
RMT stands ready to work with Labour and all stakeholders to ensure that the digital skills passport becomes a reality, benefiting offshore workers and contributing to a fair and sustainable future for the energy sector.
- As it stands, workers—most of whom are self-employed—face costs of up to £7,000 to obtain the necessary qualifications for both sectors, with no guarantee of employment. This issue affects thousands of workers in offshore engineering, diving, and seafaring roles, leading to financial strain and job insecurity.
- Despite the pledge, standardisation efforts have stalled. Training certification bodies, OPITO (oil and gas) and the Global Wind Organisation (turbine manufacturers and developers), have yet to agree on aligning their respective Basic Safety Training (GWO) and Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training (OPITO) certifications.
- There are also overlaps exist with First Aid Training and STCW requirements for seafarers, who sometimes need GWO training even if they do not step off vessels onto turbines.
- The Scottish Government allocated £5 million from its Just Transition Fund to develop this initiative, but not all of it has been spent.
- Meanwhile, the UK Government has contributed no financial support and UK ministers have shown little active interest in the project. 

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Tagged with: RMT, Mick Lynch, Offshore, Green New Deal, Labour