Union plea for local jobs to be created by new offshore windfarm
A union has called for the guarantee of local jobs being made available when work starts on the £1.3 billion offshore windfarm early next year.
GMB, the union for energy workers, says it wants to make sure that Rampion brings benefits to local communities.
The windfarm, which will be built eight miles off the Sussex coast, will consist of 116 turbines.
Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for energy, said, “Unless Government insists on guarantees on local components sourcing and local jobs in return for higher bills that this energy will cost consumers I think we can safely say the turbines will be built in Germany and Denmark, brought over on Dutch barges, and in turn be connected by cables made in China.
“We need guarantees on how many jobs this investment funded by consumers will create in the UK and locally in Sussex.
“If Rampion is a rerun of Thames Array the danger that the only things communities paying for this project are higher energy bills.
“Rampion must not be a rerun of Thames Array, one of the world’s largest wind farms. There 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 will not allow this to happen again.
“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 has an industrial strategy in place to promote decent jobs for a new generation now facing prospects of precarious employment.
“Government leaving the supply chain to corporations which decide to spend the money importing much of the technology from overseas is completely out of order and not acceptable.”
Chris Tomlinson, development director for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, said, “Securing the investment to trigger the green light for Rampion construction is great news for the local economy, offering opportunities for local businesses during construction and permanent job opportunities during operation.
“We have made a number of commitments to tap into local skills for operational business and job opportunities, taking on local support service contracts, aiming to recruit a minimum of six apprenticeships and advertising jobs locally.
“We are also doing what we can to maximise local business opportunities associated with construction, having held three well-attended ‘Meet the Buyer’ events and setting up the web portal, sussexwindenergy.org.uk, to encourage local suppliers to register their details to maximise subcontracting opportunities.”
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