Anger as construction giant slashes 25 Aberdeenshire jobs

A construction giant has come under fire for laying off 25 “highly-skilled” employees at its Aberdeenshire base.

It emerged yesterday that Balfour Beatty was forced to slash its substations design office at Kintore, with the company blaming market conditions.

The expert engineers there worked on designing electricity substations for power firms such as SSE and Scottish Power, but bosses claim that contracts have dried up in recent times.

Union leaders last night slammed the decision, which they say has left the workforce shocked.

Unite regional officer, John Clark, said: “The fact the Kintore employees are the sole target for redundancies is a matter of real concern.”

And it emerged that workers have proposed “reconstruction” measures which would maintain the majority of the jobs at the north-east office.

However, a Balfour Beatty spokesman said financial constraints had imposed the move upon the firm and that “every effort” would be made to find alternative roles for the jobless workers.

He added: “The last two years have been challenging for our power transmission and distribution business in Scotland, with little sign of change in the near future.

“In light of this, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations at our substation design office in Kintore by the end of March.

“Regrettably, 25 roles will be made redundant but we are making every effort to find alternative roles within the wider Balfour Beatty business for the affected employees.”

Balfour Beatty chief executive, Leo Quinn, announced a “transformation programme” after the company suffered a £199m pre-tax loss in 2015.

And the firm, which is a main partner in the £750million Aberdeen bypass scheme, has stressed that its control systems design team will continue to operate from the Kintore building.

North-east MSP, Lewis Macdonald, vowed to approach the Scottish Government to take action over the cuts.

The Labour politician said: “The plans will have a negative impact on the local economy.

“The workers and union reps have put forward a comprehensive and practical business plan for taking the company forward, and are optimistic that more work can be secured.

“These are highly skilled and committed workers.

“The company must set aside these drastic proposals, and instead sit down with their staff and the trade union to discuss a positive way forward for Kintore.”