The oil industry has boomed in Scotland over the past 50 years but things are changing. Unemployment among oil workers has grown, food bank usage has risen and communities are losing out.
Greenpeace spoke to current and former oil workers about the ups and downs they’ve experienced in the industry and the challenges they face.
“If the wages go down, they never go back up again”
Wullie, an oil worker from Aberdeen details the hardships involved in offshore work, the redundancies and insecurities brought on by the pandemic and the toll this has taken on his health and his family’s wellbeing.
“They don’t really care for their workers, they care about the profit margins for their shareholders”
Robbie, an oil worker and union branch secretary, describes the barriers that oil workers face in transitioning to renewable energy, with huge training fees being demanded for skills that many workers already have.
“I don’t think we’re going to have a great planet, until we do things because it’s the right thing to do, rather than because it’s profitable”
Yvonne, a former oil worker, lays out the stark choice the UK government needs to make in putting the planet before oil companies’ profits.
“Renewable energy is definitely the way forward, it has to be. The wind is there, we’ve got to make use of it”
Former oil worker Alan points to a future of hope in the closing moments of the film, a future where offshore workers can transition into jobs in renewable energy for the benefit of their own livelihoods and the health of the planet.
These workers’ stories are powerful, but they’re not unusual. Lots of people’s livelihoods are tied to polluting industries, and moving to a greener world will bring huge changes. But ordinary workers didn’t cause the climate crisis, so wouldn’t be fair for them to lose out.
That’s why Greenpeace UK has teamed up with Friends of the Earth Scotland and Platform to campaign for a just transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, with proper support for workers to move into secure green jobs.
Watch the film to hear from communities at the heart of the just transition discussion.
Ravishaan Rahel Muthiah is a digital campaigner with Greenpeace UK working for a just transition to clean energy and green jobs.