UK

Keir Starmer bids to persuade unions to back plan for shift to green energy

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will address the GMB union’s conference (Ben Birchall/PA)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will address the GMB union’s conference (Ben Birchall/PA) Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will address the GMB union’s conference (Ben Birchall/PA)

Sir Keir Starmer will try to persuade unions to back his plan for a shift to green energy as part of a “new business model for Britain”.

The Labour leader will address the GMB union’s conference after its general secretary criticised the Opposition’s plan to ban new oil and gas extraction licences in the North Sea.

In a speech on Tuesday Sir Keir will pledge to work with unions to “seize the opportunities” of hydrogen power and carbon capture and storage projects.

GMB general secretary Gary Smith said the party’s policy on North Sea licences would create a “cliff edge” that will hit jobs.

Unite’s Sharon Graham said Labour must be “very clear that they will not let workers pay the price” for the transition to renewable energy.

Labour is expected to set out full details of its green energy plan next week.

At the GMB conference on Tuesday, Sir Keir will say: “Jobs, good, union jobs, will be fundamental to cleaner, safer work, new and better infrastructure for Britain.

“I won’t pretend that just because a technology is greener that automatically makes working conditions fairer.

“So, as new nuclear, battery factories and offshore wind repower Britain, Labour will build strong supply chains that create jobs, new skills and decent wages here in Britain.

“We will work with you and with industry to seize the opportunities of hydrogen, carbon capture and storage.”

Sir Keir will also back the role of unions across the economy, urging firms like Amazon to recognise the GMB.

“We will always see the fight for working people as our driving purpose.

“So we will strengthen the role of trade unions in our society, and I want to see Amazon and businesses like it recognise unions.

“Together, we will make Britain work better, give working people their future back and build a better Britain.”

The Labour leader will accuse the Tories of failing to understand the need for economic growth across the country.

“If the City of London races ahead while the rest of Britain stagnates, as long as there was a hint of growth on his spreadsheet, (Prime Minister) Rishi Sunak would think that’s fine. But it’s not,” he will say.