BiFab: Deal safeguards jobs and lifts administration threat

BIFAB Burntisland  (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
BIFAB Burntisland (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

A deal has been done to avoid BiFab going into administration.

It lifts the immediate threat to hundreds of engineering jobs at the company’s two Fife yards – and also on the Isle of Lewis.

The deal came after negotiations between the Scottish Government and Dutch contractor, Seaway Heavy Lifting.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister, revealed the good news, stating: ‘‘After two days of intense discussions, I am delighted that we have reached a deal to save BiFab from administration.

‘‘My thanks to all who made it possible. Work still to do for the long term, but this will be much deserved relief for the workers.’’

It was the outcome everyone involved in the ‘Battle For BiFab’ wanted.

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon

The campaign had solid support across the workforce, the communities, trades unions and politicians.

On Thursday, almost 1000 BiFab workers and supporters staged a high-profile march through the heart of Edinburgh, rallying at the Scottish Parliament.

That came after a vow to stage a ‘work in’ despite fears they wouldn’t be paid this week.

The campaign was sparked in response to fears that BiFab was facing administration amid a critical cash flow problem.

With political support behind them, the talks started at the end of the week, and continued over two days.

The First Minister confirmed the threat of administration had been lifted, and said the Scottish Government was also prepared to step in with a commercial loan if the engineering giant needed further help.

She said: ‘‘I know that this has been an anxious time for people employed at BiFab, as well as their families and the wider communities of Burntisland, Methil and Arnish and the trade unions have ensured that the importance of this company was made clear to all companies involved.

“All companies including BiFab have had to take difficult decisions to secure this outcome.

‘‘While this deal lifts the immediate threat of administration, we recognise that there is a lot of work still to do to secure the long term position. Ministers will continue to work with BiFab, the trade unions and industry partners to identify ways to secure the long term future of renewables manufacturing on these sites.”

The news was welcomed by David Torrance, MSP for Kirkcaldy who said he was “overjoyed” and added: “I have to thank everybody that around the table.”