The UK’s largest offshore union has launched a campaign to protect workers’ jobs as the energy sector starts to rely more heavily on robotics.
Unite says a trend towards full automation poses a risk to the workforce, and the union has developed a strategy to identify new technologies which could threaten employment.
It is encouraging companies to sign up to its “new technology agreement” to make sure workers are fully involved as employers make changes that may lead to an increase in automation.
A rise in robotics has been noted in the industry recently, with DNV GL – a technical advisor to the sector – saying it expects oil and gas firms to implement fully autonomous drilling by 2025.
According to Unite, between 35% and 42% of jobs across all sectors of the UK economy are likely be lost as a result of automation.
Regional organiser Tommy Campbell added: “Offshore employers should engage with the workforce and their unions by signing up to a new technology agreement to ensure any automation is introduced for the benefit of offshore workers. It should not be used to undermine workers by threatening their job security .”