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Workers march on Holyrood

Brown: ‘no stone left unturned’ to save BiFab jobs

Keith Brown

Keith Brown: ‘there is cross-party support’ (photo by Terry Murden)

Economy Secretary Keith Brown today pledged cross-party commitment to resolving the crisis at the BiFab offshore yards.

Mr Brown, addressing a rally of workers outside the Scottish parliament, said “no stone would be left unturned” to ensure the jobs of 1,400 workers were saved.

Hundreds descended on Holyrood following a march down the Royal Mile culminating in appeals from union leaders to the parliamentarians to take action.

They were protesting over threats to the Burntisland Fabricators yards in Fife and Lewis because of a dispute over a £100 million contract for wind turbines between Scottish energy giant SSE and the Dutch contractor Seaway Heavy Lifting. 

The workers fear the jobs will be lost as the work is completed outside Scotland.

Boy at BiFab demo

This young boy marched with his father (photo by Terry Murden)

Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish secretary, told the gathering: “These jobs are not for sale at any price. We were encouraged by the politicians that there is a path out of this crisis. But the path is being obstructed by SSE and SHL.

He appealed to SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies to intervene.

Battle for BiFab

The march began at the foot of Castle Hill

“You are the man who owns this contract and you are the man who can get things done.

How can it be that a Scottish energy giant – SSE – is running a billion pound contract for a Mega Scottish wind farm – and then a Scottish company is threatened with going to the wall because a Dutch contractor wont pay its bills? It beggars belief.”

Gary Smith, GMB Scotland Secretary, told the gathering: “I am proud of you all. If you had not taken this action the yards would have closed on Monday.

BiFab bugler

A bugler helped to lift spirits among the demonstrators (photo by Terry Murden)

“We are going to carry on this fight. Nothing is going out of those yards. This work was started in Scotland and it will be finished in Scotland.”

Mr Brown said he and Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse were doing what they can to achieve the desired outcome.

“We are well aware of the tension and anxiety faced by you and your families,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister was also taking an interest.

“There has been no politics in this. We are working together to get the right solution and no stone will be left unturned.There is unanimity behind saving these jobs.”

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