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Mining districts need an outlook on decent industrial jobs

When the new commission for growth, structural change and employment is deployed by the federal government, the German Industry Union for the Mining, Chemical, and Energy Industries (IG BCE), Hanover/Germany, expects a commitment from all participants towards sustainable industrial future perspectives for employees and the regions as well as a serious debate on the open issues in energy generation and future energy prices. The union has been demanding this from politicians for several years. The fact that this commission now wants to adopt this issue as a priority is very welcome, according to the Executive Secretary of the IG BCE, Michael Vassiliadis, who will also participate in the commission himself.

“The people in mining regions don’t need a politically accelerated withdrawal of coal,” explains Vassiliadis. The path towards the withdrawal of coal-powered electricity generation has been mapped out for a long time. “What they need is access to a structural transformation process that ensures reliable industrial labour. This is what we are working towards in the commission.”

Vassiliadis explains that the energy economy has already borne the main load of the CO2 savings in Germany for a long time. He claims it is the only sector that will come close to achieving the German climate objectives for the 2020. “If we really tighten the thumbscrews, this will have painful consequences for the whole industry in the region and will cost jobs,” emphasizes the Chairman of the IG BCE.

Although Germany is set to rely on conventional energy generation for several decades, we must start thinking about the time after this, explains Vassiliadis. “Structural transformation is a marathon, not a sprint.” According to Vassiliadis, what we need is ideas and investment for a sustainable industrial transformation in the traffic and data infrastructure, and the promotion of industrial cornerstones. He also believes that decent industrial work is the only way to prevent the mining districts from becoming ghost towns. (IG BCE/Si.)