With the planned expansion of wind energy, the federal government must make greater efforts to create jobs and improve working conditions in the industry from a trade union perspective. At the moment it often “doesn’t matter at the end of the day” where the systems are produced and under what working conditions, criticized IG Metall’s coast district manager, Daniel Friedrich, on Monday in Hamburg. “We cannot and should not accept that. The acceptance of wind energy, of renewable energies, always depends on the question: ‘do people have work on site’.”

IG Metall referred to a study commissioned by the union-affiliated Hans Böckler Foundation, according to which, in addition to more space and faster approval procedures, better working conditions are particularly important. “The state can also make an important contribution to this with further developed tendering conditions for wind projects,” writes the foundation. This aspect has so far been a “blind spot in the political discussion”, criticized the co-author of the study, Thorsten Ludwig from the Bremen Agency for Structure and Personnel Development.

With regard to the Berlin Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, which is led by Robert Habeck (Greens), Friedrich also expressed “doubts as to whether an industrial policy strategy is really connected with the question “how can that also secure employment””. Friedrich demanded a strategy for the expansion of wind energy from a wind summit planned by Habeck this Wednesday, “on the basis of which work and added value in the production and operation of the systems in Germany and Europe can be secured and expanded”.

According to the authors of the study, the wind industry lost more than 40,000 jobs in the years 2017 to 2019, of which only a small part has so far been able to be rebuilt. In addition, the vertical range of manufacture has decreased significantly, “since last year, for example, rotor blades for wind turbines have no longer been manufactured in Germany”. Another thorn in the side of IG Metall is the low level of collective bargaining coverage in large parts of the domestic wind industry. “The magic words for the future of wind energy in Germany are: good, collectively agreed working conditions, regional added value and the recruitment of skilled workers,” says Friedrich.