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Union says no to a ban on oil exploration

30 May 2024

North Sea oil rig. Banning new exploration without a plan is irresponsible says Unite. Photo Garry Bembridge via Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0).

On 17 May, Unite the Union launched a major campaign against Labour Party policy that would ban all licences for new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea and prevent the renewal of current projects.

Under the banner of No Ban Without a Plan, Unite is calling for a rethink. This policy, driven by net zero dogma, would lead to Britain importing more oil and gas from other countries at a time when these resources are available here.

The number of workers in Britain’s oil and gas industry has been cut from around 118,000 to 74,000 over the past ten years. Under Labour’s policy, that rundown would continue, putting another 30,000 jobs directly at risk, plus possibly seven or eight times that number in supply chains.


Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Labour needs to pull back from this irresponsible policy. There is clearly no viable plan for the replacement of North Sea jobs or energy security. We should not be letting go of one rope until we have hold of another. These types of transitions must have workers at the heart. Unite will not stand by and let these workers be thrown on the scrap heap. North Sea workers cannot be sacrificed on the altar of net zero.”

Energy security

She added, “We don’t want the oil and gas workers in Scotland to become the coalminers of our generation. … We need to have energy security.”

As Unite says, “We need to work towards a self-sufficient energy system – with 75 per cent local content of energy – harnessing public sector purchasing power to benefit Scottish workers and communities. No more profiteering, with global market chaos pushing up bills and threatening our future.”