The European social partners in the gas sector, EPSU, industriAll Europe, and Eurogas, met on 26 January for the final conference of their joint project on a just transition. Independent consultants presented a list of recommendations which the partners will now take forward through their collaboration.
The report notes that gases will continue to play a vital role in Europe's domestic energy production, with an increasing focus on hydrogen, biomethane and CCUS. This will help to meet climate goals, reduce dependence on third countries and provide affordable, secure energy for industry and citizens. Biomethane offers the added benefits of net negative emissions and diversification of rural incomes.
However, the necessary conditions for a just transition have not yet received the attention they deserve. This has implications for the current workforce and future skills planning. The social partners in the gas sector reiterate their strong commitment to effective social dialogue and collective bargaining. They will therefore work towards a binding agreement, negotiated at European level, on a framework for a just transition.
Jan Willem Goudriaan, EPSU General Secretary noted:
“Europe is in the middle of cost-of-living and energy crises. Any possible way out demands a just transition towards fossil-free energy. This transition must be based on quality social dialogue and collective bargaining. This report will assist to have agreements that are meaningful to workers.”
Eurogas Secretary General, James Watson, commented:
“The last two years of collaboration with EPSU and IndustriAll Europe have been extremely insightful for us as the employers’ representatives. The finalisation of this project marks the start of a new phase of collaboration, and we are keen to see if we can put structure around our efforts through an EU framework agreement”.
Judith Kirton-Darling, industriAll Europe Deputy General Secretary said:
“Greening the gas sector in a way that is fair for the more than 220,000 workers it currently employs is essential for trade unions. Collective bargaining and social dialogue are key tools to achieve this. Workers and their unions must be at the table and their voices must be heard. We are pleased that our joint project paves the way for continuing our dialogue.”
Read the full report and the executive summary written by Syndex.
'Challenges and opportunities for employment in the gas sector in the context of the European energy transition: ensuring a just transition for workers.'
The consultants are independent and were guided by a steering committee of 6 union and 6 employer representatives, as required by the terms of the project.
This project has received funding from the European Union under the grant agreement VS/2021/0044.