Kent must have fair share of 30,000 new steel fabrication jobs for giant offshore wind turbines, says GMB Southern

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Medway, Swale and Thanet with a steel fabrication history and access to the sea badly need the highly skilled well-paying jobs, says GMB Union

GMB Southern says Kent must 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 union is calling on local political, industry and union leaders to join the campaign. 

Recent GMB analysis [1] shows to meet the Climate Change Committee target for net zero by 2050, the UK will need 300 giant offshore wind turbines each year. [2] 

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, 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. 

"GMB believes that this is a great opportunity for the Government to come good on its election promises, and deliver good sustainable and well-paid jobs and decent apprenticeships to these very much deprived areas in Kent 

“I am writing today to all elected political leaders and others Kent to get behind this campaign. Parts of Kent badly need the jobs. It is unacceptable if the only role for workers Kent is to pay from 8,000 the giant wind turbines. 

“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. This is a sure-fire way of securing electoral support for this vital national goal. 

“In my letter, I will ask political and other leaders to support the campaign to turn this aspiration into law by amendments to the Subsidy Control Bill currently going through Parliament. 

“I will remind these MPs that using 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.” 


Media enquiries: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at

Notes to Editors:


[2] The Climate Change Committee set a target for up to125 GW capacity wind power by 2050 which currently requires an additional 100GW to meet this. Based on specifications and costs of current wind farms in the pipeline this equates to more than 8,000 new offshore giant wind turbines. The costs of bringing this new capacity on stream would be near £250 billion.