Government brokers deal to rescue BiFab

Cornelia Mascio
Novembre 20, 2017

The Scottish Government also indicated it would loan money to BiFab if required.

The consensus comes after intensive talks aimed at securing the future of the company and intensive negotiations over the last two days.

However, the threat has been lifted after the Scottish Government stepped in to hold crunch talks, meaning work will continue on the current contract for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm.

Employees had staged a work-in to keep the sites open and a mass march to the Scottish Parliament took place on Thursday to coincide with First Minister's Questions.

A financial package to complete the contract for the 588MW Beatrice offshore wind project has been provided by balance of plant contractor Seaway Heavy Lifting and utility-developer developer SSE.

In a joint statement, Gary Smith and Pat Rafferty said: "Make no mistake, these yards would be closed today if it wasn't for the dignity and determination of the workers and their families in Fife and Lewis to save their jobs and industry".

Trade unions GMB and Unite praised the role of the Scottish Government and Ms Sturgeon in brokering the deal, and the resolute stand taken by the BiFab workers to convince everyone they were determined to fight for their jobs and their communities.

"Both First Minster Nicola Sturgeon and Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown secured the co-operation of all the partners and interests involved to create a deal".

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan welcomed the news as a "great Christmas present for the Isle of Lewis", and said: "The emphasis now will be on ensuring that Arnish receives new orders in the future, something which I believe it is well placed to do, given the growing market in the renewables sector for the work that it does".

"As we await the details of the deal, we must ensure that it protects all the 1,400 jobs under threat now and in the future". "We appreciate the role that the Scottish Government has played in reaching a positive solution for all", SHL chief executive Jan Willem van der Graaf said.

SHL said the rescue deal is endorsed by all stakeholders.

"Seaway Heavy Lifting will continue to always treat its suppliers fairly, with respect and integrity, and we look forward to BiFab successfully completing the remainder of the Beatrice jacket fabrication".

On Thursday, nearly 1000 BiFab workers and supporters staged a high-profile march through the heart of Edinburgh, rallying at the Scottish Parliament.

Partners, children, friends and other members of local communities joined staff who had arrived on 12 coaches that left from the firm's Burtisland and Methil bases. "There is lots of potential and work for years to come".

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