A Green Shift for Oil and Gas workers?

Andreas Ytterstad
Gunnar Steinsholt
  Norwegian Union for Municipal and General Employees, NUMGE


The «Green shift» was declared the «term of the year» in Norway. Behind the buzz, it is possible to distinguish three versions of the Green shift (Ytterstad 2016). This paper focuses on the union based version, which has coalesced around the Bridge to the Future Alliance (broentilframtiden.com), which has published three books (Ytterstad, 2013, 2015, Ryggvik 2013) and held three national Conferences behind the slogan “Put the brakes on Norwegian Oil: 100 000 Climate jobs Now!”. Although the alliance between faith organizations, the environmental movement and trade unions has established contact with unions in the private sector over time, it has not been supported officially by the two most important unions of oil and gas workers, The Industry and Energy Union and Fellesforbundet https://www.fellesforbundet.no/information-for-foreign-employees/information-in-english/.

In this paper, we draw upon interviews with trade union leaders AND shop steward representatives of these two unions, in their views on the Green shift, whether they think it is just “hot air”, of if they see any substantial shift behind the rhetoric. We will also inquire about their views of agency, of how the see the role of Government and the big players, like Statoil in the case of Oil and gas and Statnett in the case of renewable energy. Most pertinently, we want to use these interviews to provide more grounded answers to the question we both have, as part of the Bridge to the Future Alliance: Given the combination of increasing unemployment and the buzz around the Green shift, what would it take for them to support, join and fight for a just transition in Norway by way of demanding at least 100 000 new climate jobs?

Climate change - trade union - fossil - transition