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BiFab yard in Lewis will not be ditched in a potential takeover deal of the company

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The BiFab yard in Lewis will not be ditched in a potential takeover deal of the company, union leaders have been assured.

Talks are in progress with potential new investors who the Lewis workforce fear are not interested in the Arnish manufacturing facility.

Union leaders said they had a “positive” meeting yesterday (wed) with bosses at the Scottish engineering company over the future of its yards in Methil and Burntisland in Fife as well as in the Western Isles.

Alan Ritchie of engineering union GMB Scotland and Rob McGregor of Unite held discussions with BiFab managing director Martin Adam yesterday.

The Scottish Government rescued the firm from brink of administration with a £15 million pledge in November but now its order book is empty and its sole contract of 26 turbine foundations for the Beatrice offshore wind scheme will end within weeks.

A financial dispute over a supply of steel – said to up to several million pounds is also hanging over the firm. Legal action lodged by German steel supplier EEW Group is due to be suspended for six months which would allow both parties time to thrash out a mutual agreement.

The Arnish facility is set to shut almost imminently with the majority of the workforce paid off and its very last unit already completed.

But BiFab yesterday (wed) revealed it plans to minimise redundancies by transferring some Lewis workers to Fife for the remainder of the contract.

Alan Ritchie said they received “assurances any deal over BiFab would include the three yards. That includes Arnish.

“They assured the trade unions that the yards are all important and complement each other in the Bifab setting.”

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