BiFab: Job losses are a ‘devastating outcome’

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The Scottish Government is to be asked how it intends to help struggling BiFab after the company’s latest redundancy notices kicked in, leaving barely a handful of staff at the Fife yards.

Just seven part-timers are being kept on for maintenance and security roles where 400 workers and 1000 contractors were once employed.

Now Lesley Laird, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, wants to know how it will be helped.

BiFab was taken over by Canadian firm, DF Barnes, in April after a major campaign by the workforce to save the yards in Burntisland, Methil and the isle of Lewis,

But with an empty order book since the completion of the Beatrice windfarm contract for major subsea jackets, it has not been able to turn it round.

In May it issued redundancy notices to 35 of the remaining 43-strong workforce.

That process has now expired, leaving just a handful of workers, while 12 senior managers will be fully retained by the new owners, according to the GMB union.

Ms Laird said she will be pressing the Scottish Government for more details on where the troubled company goes from here.

She said: “This is a devastating outcome for BiFab workers who only a few months ago believed the DF Barnes acquisition would herald a new, brighter, future for the troubled firm.

“Nicola Sturgeon announced the rescue deal to workers at the yard but the fanfare surrounding that announcement isn’t ringing true now.

“I’ll be asking the Scottish Government – which remains a minority stakeholder in BiFab – what it intends to do to help the firm secure future orders and what support will be made available to affected workers.

“Future orders or not – this raft of redundancies is a bitter end point for a workforce who fought so determinedly to save the yards in Burntisland, Methil and Arnish.”

Patrick Harvie MSP, the Green Party spokesman on finance and economy, said the “effective closure” of BiFab was “terrible news” adding: “It’s not in the renewable industry’s interests for BiFab to go down, so any last action that can be taken to secure jobs must be considered and Greens are ready to work with the government and other parties in achieving this.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “We appreciate that this continues to be a challenging time for BiFab employees and former employees. As Ministers have made clear, there will continue be difficult times for BiFab until new contracts are secured. We would encourage BiFab and Unions to continue to work together constructively during this period.”