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Phasing in and phasing out: reworking labour in energy transitions in the North Sea (PHASE)

To reach the internationally agreed upon climate targets, we must move away from fossil energy dependencies. This will bring profound changes to our economic, social and political systems, not least in relation labour markets. The project (PHASE) is about the impacts of the green transition on working life and the conditions for economic democratic participation in the new energy systems and beyond. 

PHASE will explore how the green transition affects work and labour organisation in North Sea-based energy systems from petroleum to renewables. We ask how workers in offshore related industries from petroleum to renewables individually and collectively experience and act upon the green transition. The project concerns three interrelated issues of this question: the first is about individual jobs motivation and mobilities in the labour market; the second is about how the green transition reshapes workers’ conditions, labour relations and workers’ participation; and the third concerns how the experiences with and prospects of green transition affect workers’ collective ability and will to resist or promote phasing out petroleum and/or phasing in renewable industries.

Studies on the green restructuring of the labor market usually emphasise aggregate figures on supply and demand of energy or labor - without regard to the knowledge, experiences and motivations of the workers and their organisations. We will therefore combine register data on labor market mobilities and qualitative interviews. We will interview people in industry and at universities who work with recruitment, students, young employees, employees in exposed parts of the industry and in the trade union movement to explore how the green transition affects work and work organization in transition in the energy sector in the North Sea. 
The majority of PHASE will be a case study from Norway, while we also want to explore experiences from Scotland in order to learn from a more advanced offshore wind industry and compare experiences. 
The insights created in PHASE can help to identify opportunities and challenges for a green and fair energy transition, with a view to inequality and democratic participation in working life.