Businesses sign up to union campaign against Labour North Sea stance

Nearly 200 businesses have signed up to a union’s campaign against Labour’s policy of refusing to grant new oil and gas licences in the North Sea.

A giant version of Unite’s joint letter will be unveiled in Aberdeen on Thursday as part of their “no ban without a plan” campaign.

Labour have said they will not grant new licences in the North Sea but they would continue with any licences already in operation.

General Election campaign 2024
Labour politicians reject claims their policy will endanger jobs (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sir Keir Starmer has rejected claims this would endanger North Sea jobs and shadow energy Secretary Ed Miliband says Labour’s commitment to the sector is “non-negotiable”.

The letter includes local businesses from north east Scotland, Falkirk and Bo’ness.

It says: “The oil and gas industry is a hugely important employer, providing good quality jobs for local people, on whose custom businesses like ours depend. Its future represents the future of our community.

“UK Labour’s current policy on net zero for the North Sea is to ban all new licences but, currently, they have no detailed plan on a fair, workers’ transition to greener energy and to save 30,000 jobs in Scotland.

“This could lead to us importing more oil and gas when we have it on our doorstep.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Until Labour has a concrete plan for replacing North Sea jobs and ensuring energy security, the ban on new oil and gas exploration licences should not go ahead.

“Labour must not allow oil and gas workers to become this generation’s coal miners. Scotland’s oil and gas communities are crying out for a secure future and that is what Labour must deliver.”

Labour’s manifesto says the party will deliver a “green prosperity plan” to invest in the climate transition, which it claims will create green jobs, cut bills and secure energy independence.

Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said: “The skills and expertise of the North Sea are at the heart of Labour’s transformative clean energy plans.

“The industry’s workers have been failed time and time again by the SNP and the Tories, who have let energy jobs go abroad and have no plan to bring the jobs of the future to Scotland.

“It’s absolutely right that there needs to be a comprehensive plan on jobs, and that’s exactly what Labour is delivering.

“Workers are at the heart of our transformative plans for a publicly owned GB Energy company, a National Wealth Fund, a British Jobs Bonus, and a New Deal for Working People.”

He added: “Together with workers, industry and trade unions, Labour will deliver the greatest investment in the future of the North Sea in a generation.

“Only Labour has a plan to unlock Scotland’s potential as a clean energy superpower and deliver good jobs, lower bills and greater energy security for Scotland.”