In the discussion about the proposed coal mine in Cumbria, we must remind ourselves that there are no jobs on a dead planet. Nonetheless, we have to address the need for skilled, well-paid jobs in the post-industrial north. A ‘ just transition ‘ means developing strategies that will enable us not only to move away from coal mining but also from nuclear power and nuclear submarines which have provided employment for working-class communities in Cumbria in recent decades
The skills to develop the renewable energy sector already exist. The state should intervene to support places like Barrow, Workington and former coal mining areas like South Yorkshire in their ‘ just transition’, working with unions to do this. For instance, a plan was put together to help aviation workers at Gatwick transition to green jobs with Green New Deal UK working with the Public and Commercial Services Union. We need similar plans in South Yorkshire for workers at Doncaster/Sheffield airport and in other fossil fuel-intensive industries so they can be employed in green jobs. Further Education Colleges need to be training our young people for these opportunities now.
The TUC estimate that 60,000 green jobs could be created in Yorkshire in 2 years, building energy-efficient homes, retrofitting social housing, reforesting, upgrading public transport and improving cycling and pedestrian routes.
Only an alternative vision of what a sustainable and just society might look like will enable us to address the issues areas like Cumbria and South Yorkshire face at a local, regional and global level
Hillsborough Green Party