Making Prospect the trade union for professionals in renewables

Steve Thomas · 3 March 2022

Prospect national secretary, Steve Thomas, writes about the launch of our Renewables Organising Group and how it aims to be the launchpad for further successes in this fast-growing part of the energy sector.

View of wind turbines

We know that Prospect is already the union for energy professionals and managers in traditional generation, supply and across nuclear.

We enjoy recognition and influence with many of the big employers, which we can leverage for better pay, safety and terms and conditions for our members.

However, in renewables, an increasingly important and growing part of the energy sector, unions have found it much more difficult to be part of the conversation.

Although we have made steady progress and enjoyed some notable successes, such as the recent extension of SSE recognition to some staff on contracts working offshore, we want to redouble our efforts and keep pushing on.

To help us achieve this we have started a Renewables Organising Group, which met for the first time early this year. Our aims are:

  1. Achieving union recognition in new areas.
  2. Campaigning where we have existing relationships or collective bargaining arrangements, keeping in mind that what constitutes union recognition may not simply be an extension of what we already have.
  3. Receiving updates, organising and campaigning support from the regional Energy Sector branch.
  4. The group will provide practical support: in sharing good practice, creating materials, improving access to potential members, and opportunities to engage with other stakeholders (eg international bodies and other employers).
  5. Considering policy development work including health and safety, pay, regulations and being able to commission work to support the organising aims.

The group brings together key colleagues from across Prospect who directly support branches in the renewables sector and includes full-time officers from our organising and research teams.

More importantly, we will also be able to count on the support and input from several reps who are working in renewables at big employers, such as RWE, SSE, EDF and Scottish Power.

We know it won’t be easy and there is a lot of work ahead of us. But the opportunities are out there and the launch of our Renewables Organising Group is just the start.

After all, workers in renewables should be able to enjoy the same bargaining rights, support, protection, expert legal help, training and other union benefits just as much as their colleagues in other parts of the energy sector.

If you can support Prospect’s organising work at your employer or can help us identify other opportunities, please get in touch: [email protected]

Subscribe to Prospect’s Renewables Newsletter (non-members welcome).

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From generation to transmission, Prospect represents the interests of over 22,000 members working across all parts of the energy sector.