TODAY marks 50 years since the McCrone report was hushed up by then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

In case you missed it, you can read our special coverage of the report and its implications on Scotland as we look towards renewable energy.

It’s also important that we look towards those most impacted by the decisions made around North Sea oil and gas – workers. Scotland’s leading trade union for the oil and gas industry, Unite, has this week secured an important collective bargaining agreement for onshore workers based at the St Fergus Gas plant near Peterhead (below).

The National: PETERHEAD, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07:  The tower of Peterhead Power station dominates the skyline February 7, 2007 in Peterhead, Scotland. BP is to hold back on its investment plans for the power plant. The company is waiting on an announcement on

The agreement involves around 100 contractors who provide maintenance and site support at the gas plant, including scaffold inspectors and supervisors, riggers, forklift drivers, as well as mechanical, production and electrical technicians.

This is not the first win for oil and gas workers. A recognition agreement was signed with energy company Equinor in January, following another agreement signed in December with Repsol Resources, covering around 350 offshore workers.

This means Unite now has recognition with four oil and gas operators: Equinor, Repsol Resources, Total Energies and CNOOC.

Deal 'ensures no group of workers is left behind'

Trade union reps have hailed the agreement, as it aims to “protect and enhance” wages and ensures workers’ voices are heard.

Vic Fraser, industrial officer for Unite, said the union was “delighted” with the result, adding that it “ensures no group of workers is left behind”.

The importance of this win cannot be overstated – workers in the oil and gas industry are often placed on zero-hours contracts, despite many being assigned for six weeks at a time.

Commenting on the news, Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “Workers in the oil and gas industry are turning to Unite.

“The latest win for Unite ensures that all contractors based at the St Fergus gas plant are covered by collective bargaining agreements.

“This will undoubtedly strengthen our efforts to secure better jobs, pay and conditions for hundreds of workers at the site.

“The latest development in the onshore and offshore oil and gas industry ensures that Unite has collective bargaining rights for contractors at all three sub terminals which feed the St Fergus gas terminal. These sub terminals are owned by Ancala, Shell and North Sea Midstream Partners (NSMP) – operated by PX. “

This latest victory in the trade union movement may just pave the way for more oil and gas workers to secure similar agreements in the future.