Scotland’s oil workers need a plan for a ‘just transition’ to other jobs– Dr Richard Dixon. In last week’s column I mentioned the opinion survey of oil and gas workers we published with Greenpeace and Platform. It is worth looking at the results in some more depth. We advertised the survey in various places including social media and through union channels. In the end, 1,383 oil and gas production workers responded. We also spent many hours on phone interviews with a selection of them to help better understand the responses. There are a number of case studies from individuals in the report, many of whom have worked in the industry for decades, and they make for gloomy reading. We found a picture of low morale, mass redundancies and little faith in the companies that make up the industry. Of the people who responded, 43 per cent had been furloughed or made redundant since March and 81 per cent would consider leaving the oil and gas industry to work in another sector if they had the chance. Only a meagre seven per cent like oil and gas work so much they definitely wanted to stay in the sector. And if offered the option of retraining within the energy sector, more than half would be interested in jobs in renewable energy. The Scottish Government’s Just Transition Commission is looking at how Scotland’s economy moves from high-carbon to low-carbon. It has been charged with looking at transition in every sector, but this dilutes its focus. Since nearly 90 per cent of climate change comes from fossil fuel emissions it would be better if it just concentrated on the big issue of how we manage a just transition for the fossil fuel industry. It is also hampered by having at least three carbon-capture-and-storage enthusiasts as commissioners. If you think this technology is going to get the oil industry out of jail free, you can’t be serious about making a real transition.
Scotsman 13th Oct 2020 read more »