First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to make the investment required in BiFab’s Fife yards to ensure that they are competitive and able to play a role in the Green Industrial Revolution.
The call comes in a letter comes from Lesley Laird, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, who is also Shadow Scottish Secretary.
It follows a series of meeting with key players including DF Barnes, owners of the yard, the CEO of EDF Renewables, whose work could be a lifeline for them, and the STUC.
It also comes ahead of Friday’s ‘Ready for Renewal’ rally at the Scottish Parliament which will see trades unions march on EDF’s Edinburgh headquarters.
The French company is poised to order turbine jackets to overseas companies – despite the fact they will be sited just ten miles off the Fife coast..
Ms Laird said: “Scotland has a real opportunity to be a world leader in renewables and at the forefront of a Green Industrial Revolution if the political will is there to make it happen. We are in the midst of a climate crisis and as a society we will have to change our way of life to ensure that we preserve our planet.
“That is undoubtedly a great challenge, but it is also a great opportunity that we must seize.
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“I believe that the high-skilled, high-paid green jobs of the future should be right here in Scotland and that should start with the yards at BiFab. The skills are already there and have been for a long time, but investment is required in the yards to make them competitive enough to win contracts in an increasingly competitive global market.
“The STUC Ready for Renewal campaign has the backing of the local community in Fife and it has the backing of the Labour Party. Unfortunately without financial commitments from the Scottish Government, which has a minority stake in the yard to make necessary improvements, the campaign is unlikely to be successful.
“That is why, ahead of Friday’s rally, I have written to Nicola Sturgeon asking her to invest in the BiFab yards and make it absolutely clear that Scotland is ready to lead the world in the manufacturing of renewable energy technologies.”
The action forms part of the push to try to get new work for Bi-Fab.
As it stands, it could lose out on a contract for turbine jackets from EDF to overseas competitors.
In her letter, Ms Laird described this as “a pivotal moment.”
She added: “Strategically this is the easiest decision that you will ever make. If the work for the NnG project is forthcoming, it could bring up to £540 million into the local Fife economy.
“That would vastly outweigh any financial investment to bring the yards up to speed, and would ensure that Scottish economy, including the supply chain benefits from this development.
“I am optimistic that the Scottish Government will indeed seize the moment, take the necessary steps, and invest in the infrastructure and upgrades required at BiFab.
“However, it has been over 18 months since it became clear that BiFab was struggling and it has been over a year since your government intervened.
“It has also become increasingly clear that while foreign operators continue to be subsidised by their governments, BiFab will be unable to compete.
“However I strongly believe that with investment in the yards BiFab will undoubtedly be able to compete for these contracts and stand a very good chance of being successful in the bidding process.
“I do fear that if that investment is not forthcoming BiFab could be left trapped in a vicious cycle with Scotland losing out on these quality, high-end green jobs of the future. “
Given our tradition and worldwide reputation in the field of engineering this would be shameful.”