Trade union leaders have today written to the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work & Culture Fiona Hyslop MSP, urging transparency over legal advice received by the Scottish Government before the collapse of a deal that would have helped stricken firm BiFab..

Friday, 30th October 2020, 3:07 pm
Updated Friday, 30th October 2020, 3:08 pm
BiFab in Burntisland

The Scottish Government, which is a minority shareholder in BiFab, says that the law prevented it from investing further if majority holders didn’t not do likewise, however GMB and Unite have accused the ministers of “walking away” from a deal which could have saved jobs.

The three yards, including one each in Burntisland and Methil and another on Lewis, will miss out on all work related to Neart na Gaiothe (NnG) offshore wind farm – despite the Fife yards being only a few miles from the project.

A deal was in the making to allow BiFab to be involved in the manufacture of eight turbine jackets, however last week it fell through.

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But today union bosses called on the Scottish Government to reveal the nature of the legal advice it received before the deal collapsed, saying that “BiFab remains on the brink”.

GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith and Unite Scotland Secretary Pat Rafferty said: “We’ve said time and again that all difficult questions are the Scottish Government’s to answer and this remains case after yesterday’s meeting – this veil of secrecy must be lifted.

“It’s neither acceptable or credible for the Minister to not share the details of the legal advice which prompted the government to walk away from BiFab, these are exceptional circumstances and very much in the public interest given its importance to Scotland’s industrial future.

“The First Minister said she would 'leave no stone unturned' to save these yards but if we are to do that then we need to know the full facts behind her Cabinet Secretary’s decision to remove the financial guarantees for this lifeline contract, and time is of the essence.

“BiFab remains on the brink but the battle to save these yards goes on, and with it our best chance at building a meaningful offshore wind manufacturing supply chain in Scotland."