Scottish Labour has said the SNP has to “live up to their responsibilities” to oil and gas workers.
The party backed a motion at its annual conference in Perth calling for “urgent action” following the “deplorable failure” of the Scottish Government to alleviate the jobs crisis in the sector.
Industry body Oil & Gas UK estimated that 65,000 people could lose their jobs as a result of the oil price drop – an estimate its chief executive recently described as “conservative”.
North-east MSP Lewis Macdonald likened the attitude of the SNP government to oil to former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s to coal field closures in the 1980s.
Speaking at Perth Concert Hall, he said: “There’s no need to guess what will happen if government does not waken up to the scale of the risk we face.
“It’s not just the jobs we stand to lose now – it’s also the jobs we may never see.
“If oil fields are decommissioned before the oil runs out, just like the coal mines closed by Maggie Thatcher in the 1980s, many future oil jobs will not be there for people to do.
“Scotland must develop as a centre of excellence in oil field decommissioning, to make sure that work is done here.
“Government needs a strategy for supporting the supply chain, a strategy for decommissioning and a strategy for a just transition, using the skills and experience from oil and gas to create green jobs as well as green energy in the renewables sector.
“Right now we have none of those things, and it is time for the Scottish Government to raise its game.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already announced the creation of a task force to help tackle the jobs crisis, but Mr Macdonald said that was not enough.
He added: “We cannot leave this crisis to be paid for by the workers alone.
“It is time for government to live up to its responsibilities – and the time for action is now.”
A spokeswoman for the SNP said: “This is a muddled analysis of the oil and gas sector from Labour.
“Not only does Lewis Macdonald seem to be totally ignorant of the fact that regular unemployment statistics are published for the north-east, but he also seems ignorant of the Scottish Government’s existing oil and gas strategy.”