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New owner cuts workforce

Labour urges intervention as more BiFab jobs axed

Battle for BiFab

Workers held a rally in the Royal Mile last year (photo by Terry Murden)

Scottish Labour has urged the government to intervene once again in resolving the future of the BiFab yards after the new owner announced a new round of redundancies, leaving just a skeleton staff.

The joint trade unions in BiFab – GMB Scotland and Unite Scotland – have vowed to continue their campaign to save the Fife and Lewis yards following the statement from Canadian fabrication firm DF Barnes.

Executives of the company told workers and their trade union representatives that statutory redundancy notices would be issued to 35 of the remaining 43 core staff.

The news came less than three weeks after DF Barnes purchased BiFab following extensive negotiations with the Scottish Government which has taken a stake in the business.

Commenting on this morning’s announcement, Joint Trade Union Secretaries Gary Smith and Pat Rafferty said: “The scale and speed of these redundancies was not expected. It means that some workers will be out of a job as early as two weeks time and most will be gone in three months.

But the trade unions will not be found wanting and our battle for BiFab continues. We knew the road ahead would be hard and the need for new contracts is obvious but clearly a major problem has emerged in terms of the future prospects for fresh work over the last fortnight.

As a matter of urgency, we need to understand what those problems are and whether they can be overcome in the short term. We are working now with the employer and the Scottish Government to achieve this objective.”

Scottish Labour’s economy spokesperson Jackie Baillie MSP said: “This is a deeply disappointing announcement.

“The highly-skilled workforce at BiFab has faced months of uncertainty and my thoughts remain with them and their families.

“Given the Scottish Government now has a stake in BiFab, it is essential that they intervene to stop any job losses and secure further work for the three BiFab sites.

“The Neart na Gaoithe wind farm, purchased by EDF on Thursday, is a prime example of the opportunities available to BiFab’s new owners and the Scottish Government if they are willing to show the commercial and political will.”

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