The GMB union is campaigning for Thanet, Medway and Swale to get a fair share of 30,000 new steel fabrication jobs required to build 8,000 giant offshore wind turbines for the UK net zero targets.
The GMB Southern branch is calling on local political, industry and union leaders to join the campaign.
Recent GMB analysis- shows to meet the Climate Change Committee target for net zero by 2050, the UK will need 300 giant offshore wind turbines each year.
This will need an estimated 30,000 steel fabrication jobs and up to 60,000 further jobs in the local economies – and 8,000 more steel jobs in the supply chain.
With a rich steel fabrication history, Kent must get its fair share of these jobs, the GMB Union says.
GMB is also calling on the UK Government to set up a Renewables Development Authority which will have among its tasks procuring private sector capacity to build new yards and work with training bodies to develop the necessary skills.
Frank Macklin, GMB organiser, said: “Medway, Swale and Thanet, areas with a steel fabrication history and access to the sea, badly need a slice of the 30,000 highly skilled well-paying jobs required to fabricate 8,000 giant wind turbines for net zero.
“GMB Southern will seek to achieve a concerted campaign for Kent to get a fair share of these jobs by linking the payment of subsidies to wind farms operators to using a UK supply chain.
“One immediate step is for Kent MPs to get the Government to use the Subsidy Control Bill currently making its way through Parliament for subsidies for wind farms to be linked to using a UK based steel fabrication supply chain. Another is to identify suitable sites for the fabrication yards required.
“The Government has consistently advised the nation that Brexit will see the UK take control of its own destiny and we know that Brexit was one of the main issues that saw the Conservatives elected in Kent. The public in Kent are now looking and expecting the Conservative Government to come good on its promises of levelling up with good skilled and well-paid jobs. “
Mr Macklin says he believes bring skilled jobs will help revive Ramsgate Port. He said: “Ramsgate needs a working port and if it brings in sustainable business it will be worth it.”
He has written to Kent MPs and other political leaders to ask them to back the campaign.
He added: “GMB considers the deal should be in return for collectively having to pay the £1,400 billion that the OBR estimate is the costs of achieving net zero carbon emissions – and we do have to pay -, to level up economic activity in the green energy supply chain with well paid, skilled jobs located in deprived coastal and industrial areas that badly need this boost.
“The OBR estimate net zero by 2050 will cost each family in Kent over £50,000 which is more than £30 each week every week for the next 30 years. The very least they can do is to ensure that a fair share of the 30,000 jobs required for the fabrication of the 8,000 wind turbines takes place in Kent rather than Asia.”