Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Maritime Union Blasts Climate Change Report

State Action Needed Now on Jobs Massacre
Shipping News Feature

UK – The head of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has blasted a report issued by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), stating that it 'is a profound insult'.

The report, ‘Building back better - Raising the UK’s climate ambitions for 2035 will put Net Zero within reach and change the UK for the better’, has just been released and entails what the CCC says is ‘the first ever detailed route map for a fully decarbonised nation. A world first’.

However, the RMT has fiercely criticised the report, warning that it takes no account of what it says is a catastrophe occurring in the UKs offshore job situation already. According to the RMT, thousands of maritime jobs have already been lost this year and state that worse is to come if there isn't urgent and immediate action. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“Over 14,000 seafarer and North Sea oil and gas jobs have been lost in nine months but all the Committee on Climate Change can offer on Just Transition is ‘ask the Treasury about re-training’ and the ramblings of this Government’s favourite right wing think tank.

”This is a profound insult to those key workers who have lost their jobs during the pandemic and to those still slogging their guts out in the North Sea, on ships and in our ports to keep the country running whilst politicians design an economy without them.”

His reference to the ‘right wing think tank’ is a reference to the CCC citing a recent report from Policy Exchange, which was co-founded by Cabinet Minister Michael Gove. The report estimates that 40,000 jobs will created in the UK by the North Sea energy transition by 2050.

The RMT also castigates the reports call to slash offshore wind energy prices, which it believes will drive developers to the cheapest contractors. Cash added that this would mean:

”Locking tens of thousands of UK workers out of the green industrial revolution but protecting private dividends and profits. The carbon budget is clearly an opportunity to standardise measures that would build sustainable jobs, skills and domestic supply chains for the long term, particularly in the offshore wind industry, and it is disappointing that this has not been taken.”

Instead, the RMT calls on the government to roll back investments in road building and divert the funding into public transport and making freight networks publicly owned and integrated, as well as ensuring that all revenue is reinvested in the network. Cash said that:

“We need a new deal for public transport with expanded operating subsidy, capital investment and capacity to make services more frequent, affordable, attractive, safer to use and serving the mobility needs of both urban and rural communities.”