BiFab warns of redundancies

Written by Tom Freeman on 14 February 2018 in News

BiFab issue warning of redundancies to staff as trade unions warn of 260 job losses

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Engineering firm BiFab has warned staff they face a round of redundancies after the company struggles to find further commissions.

BiFab, which operates sites in Fife and Arnish on Lewis, said work on the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm project was coming to an end and would lead to a "natural down-manning process".

Last year the Scottish Government intervened after the firm faced administration before the Beatrice project was finished.

Trade unions have warned the number of job losses could be as high as 260 workers after workers were told the closure of the yards would be completed by June.

Bob McGregor of Unite said: “We can’t say this is a total shock because work at the yard has been running down for weeks now. However all the interested parties, the company, the contractors, the unions and the Scottish Government, given what has been done so far, must surely look to have an eleventh hour intervention which can do something to save these jobs.”

It is thought trade union representatives will meet with the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown again next week to look for new investment.

In a statement the firm said: "Issuing of the HR1 is part of the collective consultation process to inform staff about potential planned redundancies and not a decision that redundancies will take place."

It added: "This type of action is typical to previous positions we find ourselves in being a project orientated type organisation."

Business, Innovation and Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said the Scottish Government would offer support to the firm.

"We recognise this will be hugely concerning for the workers affected, their families, and wider communities, and we stand ready to provide support through our Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (Pace) initiative," he said.

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Lesley Laird, said the news was "devastating" for workers and their families.

"I think everyone recognises that when the Scottish Government intervened it was a stay of execution and that, following the completion of the Beatrice contract, further work was needed to save the yards. This announcement increases the urgency for a successful outcome – both for the workforce and the supply chain – but it is imperative that scheduled work continues," she said.

"Securing future contracts is vital to securing the long-term future of the yards and BiFab’s workforce skills, not only for the benefit of local communities here in Fife and Arnish but in terms of Scotland’s wider industrial strategy in the renewables sector. 

"Clearly, BiFab’s management team is working hard to achieve this. Negotiations with the Scottish Government and potential investors are ongoing and a joint trade union meeting is due to take place at Holyrood next week.

"BiFab is very much on the radar of both the Scottish and UK Governments and I’m optimistic that, if we all work together and stay focused, we will hopefully secure a positive outcome."

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