News of BiFab deal welcomed

Workers at BiFab marine engineering yards in Fife and Lewis had been facing the threat of redundancy after the company ran into financial difficulties. Picture: TSPL
Workers at BiFab marine engineering yards in Fife and Lewis had been facing the threat of redundancy after the company ran into financial difficulties. Picture: TSPL

News that a deal has been struck with a Canadian company securing the future of BiFab’s yards in Burntisland, Methil and the Western Isles has been widely welcomed.

And the company’s workforce, which has been facing an uncertain future in recent months, has received strong praise for its determination and fight.

It was announced today (Tuesday) that DF Barnes, a subsidiary of JV Driver, has acquired BiFab as part of an agreement brokered by the Scottish Government to support new opportunites for fabrication and construction in the marine, renewables and energy sector.

The news has been welcomed by trade unions and politicians following a campaign to save the yards and workforce.

Read more here

In a joint statement from the fabrication company’s trade union leaders Gary Smith (GMB) and Pat Rafferty (Unite) said: “When the company fell into trouble last November, we called on everyone to pull together and battle for BiFab.

“Today’s deal is the culmination of that fight and we hope its the start of a very bright future for our members and their families.

“Let’s be clear that this would not have been possible without the determination and solidarity of the workers and their communities and of course, the continued efforts of the Scottish Government and their staff in securing this investment.

“We look forward to meeting with the new owners as soon as possible, to learn of their plans and to help secure the necessary contracts that can help deliver prosperity for Fife, Lewis and Scotland.”

Lesley Laird, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said: “I welcome the deal struck today and would like to pay tribute to BiFab’s workforce and the trade unions who have fought in partnership so determinedly to save their yards over recent months.

“BiFab could have faced a very different future today but for their positive, unified campaign.

“I am also pleased that the Scottish Government stuck with the workforce and recognised the strategic industrial importance of BiFab, not just for Fife but for Scotland’s wider economy.

“This deal is a good first step for BiFab and I hope to see this succeed in securing a pipeline of orders in the near future – a move which is crucial to ensuring long term stability for the firm and its employees.”

And Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance has described the First Minister’s announcement as “wonderful news and a very welcome step towards ending the uncertainty that has faced Burntisland Fabrications, and its employees, for many months”,

He said: “As a major employer within the constituency and a significant contributor to the local economy, the secure and long term future of all three BiFab yards is vital.

“The efforts of the Scottish Government, trade unions, BiFab and its employees over recent months is to be commended.

“It really is testament to the hard work and determination of everyone involved that this partnership has been achieved and I have every confidence this investment will ensure that BiFab remains at the forefront of windfarm construction and a key player in the UK renewable sector.

“By enabling the highly skilled workforce at Bifab to continue their vital role in the renewable sector, both here in Scotland and on an international level, the Scottish economy will benefit from the further development of Scottish renewable sources.

“My heart goes out to the families of Bifab’s workforce and management who have endured such insecurity. With an end to these extremely anxious times in sight, I believe we can now all look forward to a positive future.”

Peter Grant MP, whose constituency takes in the Methil yard, said: “This is welcome news for the workers at the Methil yard in my constituency, as well as yards in Burntisland and the Western Isles.

“I would like to thank the First Minister and the Scottish Government for their role in saving jobs and securing a brighter future for BiFab.”

Claire Baker, MSP for Scotland and Mid Fife, said: “This announcement is fantastic news for the workforce in BiFab and is testimony to their commitment to the yards and their jobs during these troubling times.

“Despite all the recent uncertainty they are experiencing, the attitude, commitment, and effort of the workers and unions at the three yards has been nothing short of exemplary.

“We now need to ensure that as much of the existing workforce as possible are able to remain in their roles, whilst growing the company to ensure those that lost their jobs are offered opportunities to return.

“As we await the full details of the deal and what this means for the company going forward, it must be seen as the next step towards cementing the long term future of BiFab and the yards.

“We now have the opportunity to put BiFab at the heart of Scotland’s renewable sector, competing in a worldwide market basis whilst securing much needed jobs for the local economy.”