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600 jobs under threat at Scottish firm

From BBC - November 13, 2017

Unions representing workers at Burntisland Fabrication, or BiFab, will hold emergency meetings later amid concerns about its future.

The firm, which currently has more than 600 people working at yards in Fife and Lewis, has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators.

Unions leaders have demanded action from the Scottish government.

Bifab said it was "actively in discussion" to consider options to allow it to continue trading.

The company has yards in Burntisland, Methill and at Arnish on Lewis.

It builds large-scale equipment for the offshore oil and gas industry, as well as platforms for offshore wind turbines and tidal generators.

'Challenging situation'

A year ago BiFab secured a 100m contract for the manufacture of 26 offshore wind turbine jackets from the Dutch contractor Seaway Heavy Lifting (SHL), part of the 2.6bn Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (Bowl project in the Outer Moray Firth led by energy giant SSE.

A statement from BiFab said it was "currently facing a critical cash position as a result of a challenging situation regarding its ongoing contracts".

The company said its directors remained "hopeful that a solution can be reached to secure the future of the business and the workforce".

Managing director Martin Adam added: "We are very disappointed that we have found ourselves in the current position which has arisen as a result of a challenging situation in respect of our ongoing contracts which have been providing much needed employment locally in Scotland.

"We are seeking a rapid solution with our key stakeholders and the Scottish Executive to our current cash flow position."

The GMB union, which has 440 members across the three yards, said it had not been consulted. Its representatives were due to meet BiFab management on Monday morning and then talk to workers.

Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland radio programme, the GMB's Scotland secretary Gary Smith said: "Every political interest in Scotland has told us that renewables are the jobs of the future and if they do not do something to secure the future of these yards then it will be a hammer-blow to their credibility.

"And if the corporate interest thinks we are going to stand idly by and allow the kit that our members have been building and working on to be towed elsewhere, either on the continent or down south, then they have got another thing coming.

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