Sector News

Opinion: Jobs of thousands of oil workers at stake

January 6, 2015
News
The industry is going through what oil workers have described as a crisis period. At the time of writing, the oil price has fallen below $54.
 
That’s less than half the price predicted by the SNP in their White Paper, which formed the economic basis for their independence case.
 
But more immediate than the politics is the fact the plummeting oil price has resulted in a number of firms cutting the wages of their staff.
 
The jobs and livelihoods of thousands are at risk.
 
That’s why it’s so important that the Scottish and UK Governments do everything within their power to secure the jobs of thousands of oil workers.
 
For the UK Government, that means bringing forward their long term strategy to stimulate investment in the North Sea.
 
But there is a lot the SNP Government in Edinburgh can do too.
 
The First Minister should be in Aberdeen regularly meeting with the workers andcompanies that are struggling so much just now. This crisis has been going on for weeks now.
 
This should be a priority issue not just another item in their email inbox.
 
That isn’t enough, though.
 
I want the Scottish Government to create a resilience fund to be used in times of crisis for some of Scotland’s crucial industries and to deal with the consequences of large scale redundancies on local economies.
 
I also want the Edinburgh Government to use its power over business rates to support industries experiencing unforeseen and exceptional change, a change that of course would be subject to EU state aid rules.
 
That means consulting on how it would be possible to cut the business rates employers have to pay during this time of great uncertainty or looking at support for small businesses as a result of large scale redundancies.
The small firms that depend so heavily on work from the North Sea need support. No-one can deny that these are exceptional circumstances and we need exceptional thinking from the Scottish Government.I want to work with people of all politics and none on this issue. We need to get this right. The future for too many families in the North East depends on it.
 
Jim Murphy is the leader of Scottish Labour 
 
Source: Energy Voice

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