First Minister holds talks over BiFab’s future

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited BiFab in Methil in November. Pic: George McLuskie.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited BiFab in Methil in November. Pic: George McLuskie.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is holding talks with ministers to see what support the Scottish Government can offer to safeguard the future of a troubled Fife engineering firm.

Ms Sturgeon has been approached to intervene amid concerns about what will happen to the workers at BiFab when the current Beatrice offshore windfarm contract finishes at the end of next month.

Nicola Sturgeon is holding talks to try and safeguard the future of Bi-Fab. Pic: George McLuskie.

Nicola Sturgeon is holding talks to try and safeguard the future of Bi-Fab. Pic: George McLuskie.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament, ahead of the meeting on Thursday afternoon, Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government will ‘do everything it can’ to help the firm.

The move came after Fife MSP Claire Baker asked the First Minister what action and support the government could offer BiFab - which has yards in Methil and Burntisland in Fife and in Arnish on the Isle of Lewis, Stornoway.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Ms Baker said: “On Friday I met with workers and their union representatives from BiFab at their yard in Methil.

“And I appreciate the important role the Scottish Government played in staving off administration last year.

“But the yards are now coming to the end of the current Beatrice contract and there are concerns over the workforce’s future if new contracts are not secured.

“Can I ask the First Minister what action and support the Scottish Government will be providing BiFab and its workforce to ensure that the yards’ futures can be guaranteed, that new contracts can be secured and that there are no further job losses - even if there is to be a gap at the end of the Beatrice contract and the start of any new contracts going forward.”

In reply, Ms Sturgeon said she would be meeting with Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, to discuss the latest situation.

She said: “The Scottish Government will do everything we can as wehave done in past months to support the future of BiFab.

“I will be meeting with Keith Brown this afternoon to discuss the latest situation and to look at the support the Scottish Government is able to give.

“When we were able to secure the short-term future of BiFab before Christmas I said very frankly and candidly at the time that that is what we had done to secure the short term future and there was still significant work to do to secure the medium and long term of the yards. That remains the case but the Scottish Government will continue to work with management and the trade unions as we have done very constructively to make sure that BiFab has a strong future.”

She added: “We want to see a bright future for BiFab and will do everything in our power to ensure that that happens.”