Cross-party effort to secure jobs at BiFab

MSPs across the five parties are calling for support to secure jobs at BiFab. Pic: Jon Savage Photography.
MSPs across the five parties are calling for support to secure jobs at BiFab. Pic: Jon Savage Photography.

A cross-party delegation of MSPs has written to the UK government business secretary calling on him to do all he can to encourage the Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Project to be awarded to Burntisland Fabrications.

The group, including representatives from Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, Greens and SNP signed the letter to Greg Clark following a meeting organised by Labour’s Claire Baker.

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Claire Baker was joined by local politicians such as David Torrance, Willie Rennie, Dean Lockhart and Mark Russell.

Ms Baker said: “Following the cross-party BiFab meeting I arranged before recess, it was agreed that we would join together to lobby the UK Government to call for their support for BiFab and their yards.

“These yards are vital for the Fife economy and the workers in Methil and Burntisland deserve all the praise they have been receiving for the work that they are continuing to do during these precarious times for the company.”

She added: “Parliament is speaking with one voice on this.

‘‘All five parties have signed the letter and we are all clear, the future of BiFab must be secured.“

The letter states: “You will be aware of the ongoing situation at Burntisland Fabrications’ (BiFab) yards in Methil, Burntisland and Arnish.

“Recently, a cross party group of MSPs met with trade union representatives from GMB and Unite, along with workers, to discuss the company’s future.

“As the Beatrice contract comes to an end, it is clear to us that the only way to secure the future of these yards and the skilled workforce is with the guarantee of a new contract.”

It continued: “ This highly skilled group of workers deserve our support.

‘‘There are concerns that if no statement of intent regarding the awarding of a new contract is given, that these jobs will be lost to other areas or lost from the economy completely.

“This would be a tragedy for local communities and devastating for the local economies of the areas in question. “We are aware that there are a number of contracts coming up in the near future for fabrication work with the first expected to be the awarding of the Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Project.

“We would urge in the strongest terms that this contract take into account its wider responsibility to the Scottish economy and believe that BiFab would be best placed to receive the contract.”

It added: “We recognise that the decision on which companies will be awarded roles in these projects is not within the discretion of the UK Government and that it is a commercial decision.

“But ... there are fears that Burntisland will close by March and an early statement of intent would help secure jobs between the end of the Beatrice contract and the start of a Kincardine contract.

“Any support that the UK Government can give to support workers and retain jobs at the yards would be strongly welcomed.”