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Bifab: Unions say SNP government working ‘in unison’ with Boris Johnson

BiFab unions
Workers overlook a Bifab site in Fife.

Unions representing workers at Bifab said they have “no confidence” in the SNP government after it pulled financial support.

It follows an announcement “slipped” out by the Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop on Tuesday, minutes before the Christmas “bubbles” rules were unveiled.

The Scottish and UK governments, in a joint statement, announced there was “no legal way” for them to provide any further financial assistance to the stricken yards, which missed out on work for the country’s largest offshore wind project to companies in the Far East.

Fiona Hyslop is accused of “slipping” out a statement when it would be buried by other news.

The Seagreen site, situated off the coast of Montrose, is a little more than 50km from the Burntisland and Methil yards.

Despite this, companies behind Scotland’s largest wind turbine projects, EDF and SSE, claimed using local supply chain operators like Bifab was too expensive.

Scottish yards too expensive and poorly invested in, claim wind farm developers

The Scottish Government is a minority shareholder in the project, but blamed the inability to provide a “guarantee” work could be completed on the jacket projects for turbines on DF Barnes, a subsidiary of JV Driver.

On Friday DF Barnes released a lengthy statement refuting Ms Hyslop.

Calls for legal advice

The Scottish Secretaries of GMB and Unite, Gary Smith and Pat Rafferty, said in response the Scottish Government should release the legal advice given telling them to “walk away”.

“DF Barnes point the finger of blame at the Scottish Government and until the Minister shares the legal advice which prompted the decision to walk away from Bifab, there can be no confidence or trust in this process,” they said.

BiFab unions
Members of the Fife – Ready for Renewal Campaign, fighting to bring jobs to Fife’s mothballed BiFab yards.

“This is a growing scandal and the choreography of the joint government statement wasn’t lost on us, excluding unions and the employer while slipping the bad news under the announcement of the Covid Christmas guidelines.

“This was an act of bad faith and made a mockery of the so-called fair work agenda.

“Scotland expects this type of behaviour from Boris Johnson and the Tories but it reflects very badly on Nicola Sturgeon and Fiona Hyslop, and they can no longer cry grievance at Westminster over the failure in offshore wind when they are now acting in unison.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“The signal this sends out to the renewables industry is very clear: it’s business as usual. The jobs of the future will continue to be exported to the rest of world and subsidised by the bill payer to the tune of billions.

BiFab bosses level incredible broadside at Scottish and UK ministers over offshore contract

“At best, Britain will get scraps off the table from its own offshore wind market but it looks like both governments have buried any credible hopes for a meaningful green jobs recovery in Scotland.”

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