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Ministers under fire

BiFab yards again denied as turbine work lost

Burntisand Fabricators

BiFab’s Methil yard is likely to be mothballed

A proposed deal between Fife fabrication yard BiFab and electricity firm EDF for the manufacture of eight turbine jackets has broken down amid deep anger and disappointment.

BiFab had hoped to secure work for the giant Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore windfarm at its Methil and Lewis facilities.

But BiFab’s Canadian owner DF Barnes withdrew its bid after the Scottish Government refused to provide financial guarantees.

The government said state aid rules limited the amount of support it could offer. It had already invested £37.4m through a combination of equity and loan facilities and converted this to a 32.4% equity stake in BiFab.

“A loan facility of £15m has also been provided to support working capital,” a spokesman added.

Pat Rafferty

Pat Rafferty: ‘broken promises’ (pic: Terry Murden)

GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith and Unite Scotland Secretary Pat Rafferty were unimpressed the government’s failure to secure jobs for Scottish workers.

In a joint statement they said: “It looks like the Scottish Government Ministers have walked away from our best chance of building a meaningful offshore wind manufacturing sector.”

They said ministers have “extinguished the hopes of communities in Fife and Lewis who were banking their future prosperity on it.”

The two unions said it was a “scandalous end” to a decade which had started with promises of a ‘Saudi Arabia of Renewables’ supporting 28,000 full-time jobs in offshore wind.

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The yards will be mothballed with no prospect of any contracts or jobs on the horizon, they said. 

“Both the First Minister and the Prime Minister promised a green jobs revolution but they didn’t tell anyone it would be exported.

“It all amounts to broken promises to workers who needed these yards to be thriving instead of dying.”

It is seen as the latest setback after work on the Seagreen project in the Firth of Forth was awarded to overseas bidders, including a US-China joint venture which will fabricate 84 of the 114 turbine jackets in Guangdong province.

The union statement added: “The fabrication contracts for NnG, just like those on the Seagreen project, will be manufactured by the rest of the world.

“Two projects worth a total of £5 billion, requiring 168 turbine jackets to power our future, and not even one will be built in Scotland – everyone needs to let that sink in. 

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“This is what political failure looks like and people are right to be absolutely furious.” 

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “Following hard on the heels of SSE awarding the £3 billion Seagreen fabrication work to China and the UAE this represents nothing less than an abject failure of Government.

“There ought to be a plan for a green jobs dividend here when renewable energy projects are licensed. Instead of the Scottish Government leading a plan for jobs and investment we have seen market forces triumph at the expense of working people.

“With yards in Scotland lying idle and a skilled workforce able to do this work there is real anger that these workers and communities have been let down.”



One Comment to BiFab yards again denied as turbine work lost

  1. The Union should demand nationalisation and the formation of a publicly owned energy company under democratic control.
    If the plant and parliament need to be occupied to achieve this, so be it.

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