There are concerns that there will be no benefit to the south coast economy and that if there was a serious intent to develop green jobs in the UK this would be not allowed to happen, says GMB.
GMB, the union for workers in the energy sector, is asking EON, the energy company seeking to bring a Brighton offshore wind farm on stream, to provide all the facts on jobs that will be created as part of manufacturing, building and running the proposed wind farm. GMB is also seeking assurance on how the project will benefits the local economy and on the number of jobs it will generate for the UK economy.
Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for Energy, said: “GMB is calling for an audit and assurances on jobs from the proposed wind farm off Brighton.
GMB is concerned that the wind farm destined for the Brighton seaside will bring no benefit to the south coast economy.
GMB want the facts from EON as we suspect that the turbines will be sourced in Germany or Denmark. Where is the up side for the UK economy if the turbines are made on the continent, brought over on Dutch barges and connected with cables manufactured in China?
There already is skilled workforce in the UK to build this major infrastructure site and it must be used.
Just take the Thames Array as an example. GMB understands that on this, one of the world’s largest wind farms, that the turbines and much of the Infrastructure was manufactured aboard and boats used to float the turbines into position were from the continent with a workforce also mainly from the continent.
If Government and the energy industry are serious about developing green jobs in the UK they would not allow this to be happening.
The money to fund green energy comes from the bills of UK consumers who have no choice in the matter. They have every right to expect that the government that decreed that they should pay for green energy would have an industrial strategy in place to promote jobs to the nearly 1 million young workers out of work in the UK.
This government is perfectly happy to promote the mixed economy when it comes to paying tax payers money to private sector corporations. However, when it comes to an industrial strategy to promote jobs and new industrial sectors in the UK the government leaves it to the same corporations which spend the money importing much of the technology from overseas. This is completely out of order and not acceptable.
Offshore Wind is not cheap and GMB believes that the people in Sussex will see their bills rise as a result. German company EON will be assured a good return on their investment but there could be no local economic benefit in terms of jobs creation.
GMB would also ask Brighton Council what it is doing about ensuring that the local south coast economy benefits from this infrastructure investment and UK jobs result. The Green Party has made a great virtue of green jobs but to date the UK has seen very little benefit.”
Press release, October 2, 2013; Image: Rampion Offshore Wind Farm