Union calls for more robust action in fight for renewables jobs as offshore summit announced
GMB Scotland has called on the Scottish and UK governments to “sharpen their elbows” in the fight for renewables manufacturing jobs.
The call followed plans for a joint summit, to be hosted by the Westminster and Holyrood governments, to look at how UK companies can benefit more from the build-out of offshore wind farms in UK waters.
The talks, held in Edinburgh on 2 May, will also include representatives of off-shore developers, trade unions and supply-chain companies. Finance Secretary Derek Mackay will co-host the summit with UK Energy Minister Claire Perry.
Mackay said: “Scotland has all the natural resources required to make it an ideal location for offshore wind but we need to ensure our economy isn’t missing out from key contracts going overseas. We are committed to maximising the sector in Scotland but we cannot do it alone – we need the whole industry to work together.
“This summit will allow us to talk directly with the key developers and suppliers to establish what more we can do to help. The Scottish Government will be examining the consent process to ensure we use the powers at our disposal to keep work on these shores. And I hope to hear more from the developers and suppliers on what they plan to do to help grow our renewables economy.”
But speaking ahead of the summit, GMB Scotland secretary, Gary Smith, called on the two administrations to "be far more aggressive and restless in defending Scotland's interests”.
He said: "While we welcome the Scottish Government's readiness to tackle the clear and present challenges in our renewables sector, let's be clear that we've been brought to this point by over a decade of failure.
"The Scottish Parliament has indulged itself far too long in empty promises about a green jobs revolution while thousands of jobs and billions of pounds from massive offshore wind farm projects are commanded by European and Middle East competitors.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks also welcomed news of the summit.
He said: "Over recent years Scotland has already reaped many benefits by positively embracing renewables in a big way, including the creation of thousands of jobs across the country and the dramatic reduction in carbon pollution.
"However, if we are to see a just transition for people and nature to zero carbon future, it's vital action is taken to ensure we maximise the opportunities in sectors like offshore wind to grow further the jobs and economic benefits to Scotland."