Union leaders optimistic on BiFab future

Posted on 31 Aug 2018 and read 1109 times
Union leaders optimistic on BiFab  futureUnion leaders are optimistic about the future of the BiFab yards in Scotland, after meeting company bosses in Canada who said that they want the sites to be “world leaders” in renewables engineering.

To achieve that, GMB Scotland general secretary Gary Smith and Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said firms had to end the “great renewables rip-off” and build more wind turbines in Scotland.

The union bosses spoke out after meeting senior managers at DF Barnes — a subsidiary of JV Driver, which acquired BiFab (www.bifab.co.uk) in April in a rescue package backed by the Scottish government.

Before the visit, the trade unions had expressed concerns that the three BiFab yards — at Arnish on Lewis and at Burntisland and Methil in Fife — had effectively been closed down, with only seven staff offered part-time positions for ‘maintenance and security’ from a core workforce of 400 employees and 1,000 contractors.

Now Mr Smith and Mr Rafferty say DF Barnes and JV Driver had “satisfied us as to the company’s commitment to the Scottish yards and their determination to make those yards a success for the short and the long term”.

In a statement, the union bosses said: “For all the wind turbines that we have in Scotland, the fact is that the manufacturing supply chain is almost non-existent.

"We are satisfied now that the Canadian acquisition of BiFab is a unique opportunity to address the lack of a manufacturing supply chain in the Scottish renewables sector.

“It is also clear to us that the company wants to make BiFab a world leader in the renewables and energy sector, with the Scottish yards being key to that success.

“The company has assured us that it is committed to working with our unions to create a successful business that provides highly skilled jobs in Scotland.”

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