Optimism for Bi-Fab’s future after union meeting with Canadian owners

Workers at BiFab marched to the Scottish Parliament to try and save their jobs. Union leaders believe their is an optimistic future for the company after meeting with its new owners. Pic: Jon Savage.
Workers at BiFab marched to the Scottish Parliament to try and save their jobs. Union leaders believe their is an optimistic future for the company after meeting with its new owners. Pic: Jon Savage.

Union leaders remain optimistic about the future of troubled engineering firm BiFab.

Gary Smith, GMB Scotland Secretary and Pat Rafferty, Scottish Secretary for Unite the Union, made the comments following their meetings with the new owner of the three Bi-Fab yards, two of which are based in Fife and the third on the island of Lewis, D F Barnes, in Canada this week.

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Union bosses travel to Canada to meet with BiFab owners

Speaking from Canada, the union leaders said: “Our meetings with the company and its owner over the past couple of days have satisfied us as to the company’s commitment to the Scottish yards and their determination to make those yards a success for the short and the long term.

“For all the wind turbines that we have in Scotland the fact is the manufacturing supply chain is almost non-existent.

“We are satisfied now that the Canadian acquisition of BIFab is a unique opportunity to address the lack of a manufacturing supply chain in the Scottish renewables sector.

“It is also clear to us the company want to make Bifab a world leader in the renewables and energy sector with the Scottish yards being key to that success. The company have assured us that they are committed to working with our unions and to create a successful business that creates highly skilled jobs in Scotland.

The union leaders stressed that the most important consideration is the creation of jobs at the yards.

They continued: “We have been clear that our number one priority is creating jobs at these yards for people in Fife and Lewis, and to do this, it is now pressing and vital that we secure contracts for the yards which Bifab are currently tendering for.

“Our message to the wind-farm developers about to award these contract is quite simple:

It cannot be the case that the people of Scotland, who pay a premium on their energy bills to subsidise the Offshore Wind-farms, are denied the opportunity to build those Wind-farms.

“We have a fantastic skilled workforce in Scotland and the wind farms that are going to be put in Scottish waters should be built, right here in Scotland in the 3 Bifab yards. We are paying for them and we should build them.”

They added: “The great renewables rip off must stop now, we want jobs and opportunities for our communities.”