Final Conference: Towards a Just Transition for the gas sector and its workers | Challenges and opportunities

26jan09:3016:00Final Conference: Towards a Just Transition for the gas sector and its workers | Challenges and opportunitiesBrussels


(Thursday) 09:30 - 16:00 View in my time


TownHall Europe, Square de Meeûs 5-6, 1000, Brussels

Event Details

The Final Conference: Towards a Just Transition for the gas sector and its workers – Challenges and opportunities (26 January 2023, Brussels) gathered high-level speakers from the industry, Unions and institutions, to address the uncertainties for the current and future workforce in the gas sector in the context of the energy transition, discuss best practices and develop input to prepare a European Just Transition pathway for the gas sector.

Travel and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed subject to conditions.

With the financial support of the European Commission


09:30 | Registration

10:00 | Welcome addresses and introduction 

10:15 | Presentation of the report: The gas sector in the context of the European energy transition – Approaching a Just Transition for workers

Ana Isabel Martinez Garcia, Syndex


11:05 | Coffee break

11:20 | Panel 1 – Preparing today the jobs of tomorrow

Introduction by Fabien Couderc, Consultant Economic and Social Affairs, Syndex
Frank Siebern-Thomas, Head of Unit, Fair Green and Digital Transition, DG EMPL, European Commission
Nevin Alija, EU Affairs Manager, Floene
Raluca Popescu, Federal Secretary, Gaz Romania


12:10 | Keynote speech – Designing the future of the gas sector

MEP Jens Geier, Member of ITRE Committee (S&D, DE), European Parliament


12:30 | Lunch break

13:30 | Panel 2 – Just Transition: best practices

Introduction by Ana Isabel Martinez Garcia, Syndex
Catherine Wendt, Smart and Sustainable Growth, DG REGIO, European Commission
Gabrielle Gauthey, Senior Vice-President for European Public Affairs, TotalEnergies
Jesus Ignacio Crespo Torres, industrial policy Coordinator, CCOO de Industria


14:20 | Coffee break

14:35 | Panel 3 – Social dialogue at the heart of the Just Transition: tools and methodology to pave the way 

Jörg Tagger, Head of Unit, Social Dialogue, DG EMPL, European Commission
Jakob Embacher, Policy Officer for Utilities and EWCs, EPSU
Bronagh O’Hagan, External Relations Director, Eurogas
Sophie Grenade, Senior Policy Adviser, industriAll Europe


15:25 | Concluding remarks – A European Just Transition pathway for the gas sector

Judith Kirton Darling, Deputy General Secretary, industriAll Europe
Matthew Lay, President of the EPSU Utilities committee and UNISON’s National Officer for the energy sector
James Watson, Secretary General, Eurogas

The conference was moderated by Sasha Twining, Journalist, radio & TV presenter

Speakers for this event

  • Ana Isabel Martinez Garcia

    Ana Isabel Martinez Garcia


    Ana Isabel Martinez Garcia has a master’s degree in law. She joined Syndex in 2004 where she works on European Policy issues with a strong focus on European Works Councils, employment development and industrial relations from a comparative research perspective. Her main areas of research and competence are the development of labour and social relations in Europe, industrial relations and social dialogue as well as a sectoral competence regarding the metalworking and non-ferrous sectors. She is also specialised in training addressed to workers’ representatives.
    She is head of office of Syndex Consultores Ibérica (Madrid) where she is in charge of the management of the local team and of the relations with national trade unions.


  • Bronagh O’Hagan

    Bronagh O’Hagan

    Director External Relations, Eurogas

    Bronagh joined Eurogas in March 2021 as Communications Director and was appointed Director External Relations in 2022. She is responsible for the association’s communications across media and digital platforms, and serves as one of the spokespersons. She has been active in the EU energy sphere 2015 having worked as a public affairs consultant on energy issues ranging from major gas infrastructure projects to public private partnerships for innovative decarbonisation solutions. Bronagh has also worked as a Parliamentary Assistant in the European Parliament where she focused on the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.
    A native of county Derry Ireland, Bronagh holds an MSc in Sustainable Rural Development and Project Management from Queen’s University in Belfast.

    Director External Relations, Eurogas

  • Catherine Wendt

    Catherine Wendt

    Head of Unit for Smart and Sustainable Growth, DG REGIO, European Commission

    Catherine Wendt is currently head of unit for Smart and Sustainable Growth in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Regional and Urban policy. She moved back to regional policy after some years working on EU external relations, negotiating EU accession with candidate countries, and working in the private office of the EU Trade Commissioner. During the first part of her EU career, she worked on the UK regional policy programmes for the European Commission, and was also the head of the Merseyside Regional Office in Brussels.

    Head of Unit for Smart and Sustainable Growth, DG REGIO, European Commission

  • Fabien Couderc

    Fabien Couderc

    Consultant - economic and social affairs, Syndex

    Fabien holds a Master of Arts in European Economics from the College of Europe. He has gathered several years of experience as an expert in a major French social partner, first as an economic and industrial policy expert, then in the international department level before joining Syndex Europe and International. Fabien has extensive experience in accompanying social partners in their social dialogue process.

    Consultant - economic and social affairs, Syndex

  • Frank Siebern-Thomas

    Frank Siebern-Thomas

    Head of Unit, Fair Green and Digital Transition DG EMPL, European Commission

    Frank Siebern-Thomas is Head of Unit for “Fair Green and Digital Transitions, Research” in DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, in charge of policy development and analysis related to the employment and social dimensions of the twin – green and digital – transitions, as well as links with the European research & innovation programme Horizon Europe.

    He has worked in different functions and DGs (EMPL, MARKT, GROW) in the European Commission, including on employment and social analysis, research and foresight, European Semester and competitiveness, European social dialogue, impact assessment and better regulation, and international relations. Before joining the Commission, he worked in reinsurance. He studied applied mathematics and economics in Hamburg and Louvain-la-Neuve and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the European University Institute, Florence.

    Head of Unit, Fair Green and Digital Transition DG EMPL, European Commission

  • Gabrielle Gauthey

    Gabrielle Gauthey

    Senior Vice-President for European Public Affairs, TotalEnergies

    Gabrielle Gauthey is an experienced executive with strong local and international
    experience in investment, innovation, energy, digital economy.
    Since September 1st,2021 she is appointed high representative of the CEO of TotalEnergies to the
    European Institutions, SVP of European affairs.
    In June 2019, she joins at the executive committee of the GRP (Gaz, Renewables, Power) branch of
    Total, as SVP carbon neutrality businesses in charge of Total ventures, Greenflex, carbon sinks
    (CCUS and nature-based solutions) and hydrogen business units.
    After starting her career in the French public sector, she is adviser to the French Minister for Space
    and Telecom in charge of the 1996Telecom law. In 1998, as Deputy CEO of the Sofirad, she
    creates “Le SAT”, first video satellite bouquet to Africa, now Canalsatellite.
    In 2000, she becomes Head of the ICT Department at the Caisse des Dépôts, in charge of digital
    spatial planning.
    From 2003 to 2008, she is Commissioner at the French Regulatory Authority for Electronic
    Communications and Posts (ARCEP), and vice-chair of the ERG (European regulators’ group).
    From 2009 to 2015, she is Group Corporate Vice President of Alcatel-Lucent, member of the
    Executive Committee, in charge of Public sector, governmental projects and Defense.
    From February 2015 to May 2018, Gabrielle Gauthey is the EVP at the Caisse des Dépôts, in
    charge of investment in infrastructure, real estate, energy, telecom.
    She is the former President of the innovation Commission of MEDEF (French business
    association) and former member of the French National Digital Council.
    She sits at the board of Gecina, Radiall and is a member of the French Academy for Technologies.
    Gabrielle Gauthey is a graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique, Ecole des Mines, and Telecom Paristech.

    Senior Vice-President for European Public Affairs, TotalEnergies

  • Jakob Embacher

    Jakob Embacher

    Policy Officer for Utilities, EWCs & Company Policy, EPSU

    Jakob Embacher is responsible for Utilities and European Works Councils at EPSU. In his role he focuses on strengthening workers’ rights as well as contributing to European trade union responses to address challenges ahead and promote climate justice. Prior to that, he has been working for the Austrian Trade Union Confederation ÖGB. He graduated from SciencesPo Paris with a MA in Public Policy.

    Policy Officer for Utilities, EWCs & Company Policy, EPSU

  • James Watson

    James Watson

    Secretary General, Eurogas

    Dr Watson is the Secretary General of Eurogas, a role he has held since January 2019. Eurogas is the association representing the European gas wholesale, retail and distribution sectors.

    Prior to taking the helm at Eurogas, Dr Watson was the Chief Executive Officer of SolarPower Europe, the European solar industry association. Before joining SolarPower Europe, Dr Watson worked as the Director of Public Affairs for Weber Shandwick, specialising in energy and trade policy. Before coming to Brussels, Dr Watson worked for the Commonwealth Secretariat on a European Commission project on trade and sustainable development based in Ethiopia. Earlier in his career James worked for various UK government bodies in London and worked as a lecturer in Environmental Law at the University of Manchester.

    He holds a Ph.D in International Trade and Environmental Law from the University of Leeds, and is currently a Visiting Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

    Secretary General, Eurogas

  • Jan Willem Goudriaan

    Jan Willem Goudriaan

    Secretary General, EPSU

    n May 2014, Jan Willem Goudriaan was elected as the new General Secretary of the
    European Federation of Public Services Trade Unions (EPSU) at the 9th EPSU Congress.
    He was re-elected at the 10th EPSU Congress Dublin in June 2019. He started in the Dutch
    public services trade union AbvaKabo-FNV in 1989. In November 1992 he started to work
    with EPSU. He was EPSU’s Deputy General Secretary from 1997 to 2014.
    He pioneered the social dialogue with the employers in the electricity, gas as well as local
    government sector. Together with the trade union delegations he negotiated European
    Works Council agreements and transnational company agreements including with Europe’s
    leading energy and water companies including a groundbreaking deal on improving equality
    and equal pay in GdfSuez. He actively promoted the social dimension of the Energy
    Community for South East Europe and has been an active campaigner against the
    privatisation of water companies in the EU amongst others.
    He proposed and is vice-President of the first ever successful European Citizens’ Initiative on
    the Human Right to Water and Sanitation which collected 1.9 million signatures.
    He is a member of the ETUC Executive Committee as well as the Executive Board of Public
    Services International, the global trade union federation of public services unions

    Secretary General, EPSU

  • Jesus Ignacio Crespo Torres

    Jesus Ignacio Crespo Torres

    Industrial policy Coordinator, CCOO de Industria

    Jesus Crespo Torres began his career at the Central GICC in Elcogas in 1992, he is currently a worker at Iberdrola.

    In the year 2001 he began his union career in several positions within the company.

    In the period 2010-2014 he is part of the Executive of the Federation of Industry of Castilla la Mancha, with the responsibilities of Sector Policy and Training.

    In 2017 he became part of the Executive of the Federation of Industry as responsible for the Mining and Electricity sectors and coordinator of Base Industry.

    Currently, the member of the Executive of the Federation of Industry of State CCOO, Coordinator of Raw Materials and responsible for Mining.

    Member of the Negotiating Committees and CCOO Industry Monitoring Committee on Tripartite Agreements (Government, Employers and Trade Unions) for just transition in the energy mining and coal-fired power plants sectors.

    Member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Just Transition of the Government of Spain.

    Industrial policy Coordinator, CCOO de Industria

  • Jörg Tagger

    Jörg Tagger

    Head of Unit Social Dialogue, DG EMPL, European Commission

    Jörg Tagger is Head of Unit of Social Dialogue in the Commission’s DG for Employment, Social affairs and Inclusion. He is responsible for the coordination of all social dialogue issues within the Commisison. He previously held different other positions in this unit, notably as Head of sector for social security coordination and as secretary-general of the administrative commission on coordination of social security systems. Before he joined the European Commission in 1999, Jörg Tagger was attaché to the Austrian permanent representation to the EU, responsible for research and scientific development. He previously worked for the EU coordination unit of the Austrian ministry for research, education and culture. Jörg Tagger earned his law degree at the Karl-Franzens University of Graz. He also holds a master in European studies at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

    Head of Unit Social Dialogue, DG EMPL, European Commission

  • Judith Kirton-Darling

    Judith Kirton-Darling

    Deputy General Secretary, industriAll Europe

    Judith Kirton-Darling is the elected Deputy General Secretary of industriAll European Trade Union since July 2020. Prior to this appointment, she was a British Member of the European Parliament from May 2014-January 2020 and has previously held the elected position of ETUC Confederal Secretary.

    Judith built her European trade union experience both in the European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF) and European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers Federation (EMCEF), where she worked as policy adviser.

    Deputy General Secretary, industriAll Europe

  • Matthew Lay

    Matthew Lay

    National Officer for the energy sector, UNISON

    Matthew Lay is UNISON’s National Officer for the energy sector. UNISON is the UK’s largest trade union and Matthew works closely with key lay activists and employers across the energy industry. This includes being the trade union’s lead negotiator with major energy employers British Gas/Centrica, National Grid, E.ON, EDF Energy and Cadent Gas. Matthew has also led on key policy developments in the sector and wrote the UNISON ‘warm homes’ report and ‘power to the people’.
    Matthew is the current President of the European Public Service Union’s Standing Committee for Public Utilities, and a serving members of the European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Gas.

    National Officer for the energy sector, UNISON

  • MEP Jens Geier

    MEP Jens Geier

    Member of ITRE Committee (S&D, DE), European Parliament

    Jens Geier has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2009. There, he is the head of the SPD-members of the European Parliament, member of the Industry, Research and Energy committee and substitute member of the Budget committee.
    Before that, he gathered experience in real estate projects for the public sector with innova AG and Deloitte. Further, he was a project manager and spokesperson at Projekt Ruhr GmbH and worked for the bureau of the SPD and the bureau of the regional SPD-branch for North Rhine-Westphalia. After finishing his studies in history, literature and political science at the Ruhr-University Bochum, he acted as a policy advisor for budgetary affairs and research and technology policy for an SPD-Member of the European Parliament.
    Jens Geier is an active member of IG Metall, the Workers’ Welfare Association (AWO) and the Association for work with children and teenagers in socially deprived areas (VKJ).
    He was born in Frankfurt (Main) and grew up in Essen.

    Member of ITRE Committee (S&D, DE), European Parliament

  • Nevin Alija

    Nevin Alija

    EU Affairs Manager, Floene

    Nevin Alija is currently Vice-Chair of the Distribution Committee at Eurogas and European Affairs Manager at Floene, the leading gas distribution group in Portugal . She is a lawyer by trade and has a vast experiences in energy law spanning from international organisations to academia. She was a co-founder and researcher at Nova Law Green Lab, focusing on Energy and Climate Law, where she coordinated a number of courses and teaching programmes focusing on renewable energies and sustainable development. She has been a member of the Future Energy Leaders Portugal since 2021, an initiative of the Portuguese Energy Association (APE) and the World Energy Council (WEC) and of the Global Shapers Lisbon Hub since June 2020. She is also one of the co-founders and member of the board of Women in Energy – Mulheres na Energia Portugal.

    EU Affairs Manager, Floene

  • Raluca Popescu

    Raluca Popescu

    Federal Secretary, Gaz Romania

    Raluca Popescu is Federal Secretary for the Trade Unions Gas Romania and an active member of the European unions activities in the energy sector and equality.
    She has been acting in these positions for the last 18 years, having also been part of different committees on energy like the social dialog group on gas from its beginnings.
    She is currently working on helping the Trade Unions Gas Romania’s members to transit to the new work era with its challenges like digitalisation, just transitions and the new skills needed in this field.
    Raluca is a unionist with experience in both employees’ rights, equality and personal and organisational development. Sha has worked on everything from union rights to European funded projects for the union and its members. In her position, she has helped a variety of people with their needs, from showing them what are their rights and what should be their first steps, to developing in-depth educational materials for their personal growth.

    In EPSU she is a member in the Executive Committee, in the WGEC, in the Standing Committee on Public Utilities and in EPSU delegation in the SDG Gas.

    In Industriall she is a member in the Executive Committee, in the Energy WG and in the learning and Development WG.

    In FS Gas Romania she works on social dialogue, equality, European founded programs, learning and development programs for their members, campaigns about jobs and skills, new world of work, work life balance, JT, GD and digitalisation impact on our sector.

    Federal Secretary, Gaz Romania

  • Sophie Grenade

    Sophie Grenade

    Policy Advisor, industriAll Europe

    Sophie Grenade is Policy Advisor for industriAll European Trade Union. Her main areas of focus are raw materials and circular economy. She is also in charge of European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committees in Gas, Electricity, Extractive Industries and Pulp and Paper sector. She has more than 10 years of trade union work at national, European and international level. Before joining industriAll Europe, she was advisor on European affairs within the Belgian Trade Union Confederation FGTB. Sophie holds a Research Master’s degree in Political Sociology from EHESS (Paris, France) and a masters’ degree in Sociology (University of Liège, Belgium). She worked during 6 years at the Faculty of Social Sciences in the University of Liège as research and teaching assistant and was guest lecturer during several years.

    Policy Advisor, industriAll Europe