60 jobs to go at Methil fabrication yard branded 'appalling betrayal of Fifers'

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The news that the workforce at a Fife fabrication yard is set to be cut by around 60 jobs has been condemned as “an appalling betrayal of Fifers.”

Neale Hanvey, MP for Kirkcaldy, spoke of his frustration at Harland & Wolff’s “rationalising” of its facility which looks set to cut the the workforce to a core of around 115 personnel.

The move comes two years after the company won a contract with Saipem to fabricate eight wind turbine jackets for the Neart na Goithe development which is situated nine miles off the Fife coast.

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The £26.5m deal was expected to generate hundreds of jobs at the yard formerly owned by Burntisland Fabrications (BiFab).Last a utumn, the deal was downsized to just four jackets before being terminated in December.

Pic: Fife Photo AgencyPic: Fife Photo Agency
Pic: Fife Photo Agency

Harland & Wolff said cost increases and delays made the work “sub-economic.” It is now negotiating for another large contract and focusing on constructing barges.

Mr Hanvey said Fife - and Scotland - was not making the most of its energy wealth.

The Alba politician said he had secured genuine interest from a US engineering company which wanted to operate at the yard.

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He said: “They had the financial backing and were ready to roll, but the Scottish Government sold off Fife’s potential to another mothball operator. It is an absolute scandal.

“Scotland should be at the vanguard of renewable technological design, development and fabrication, with jobs a plenty and national wealth equivalent to the riches of Norway.

“Yet as a consequence of a Westminster Government willing to plunder those riches without a thought for Scots, and a Scottish Government consumed by gender politics and an ever growing list of significant challenges. All we have to show is an economic wasteland where our people are cold, hungry and denied decent work, and businesses across the constituency face crippling energy costs.”

John Wood, Harland & Wolff chief executive, said: “The Saipem project was the first to arrive in Methil after our acquisition. With the previously announced delays and the changed economic position of this project, it was in the company’s best interests to draw the project to a mutually acceptable close.”