BiFab Joint Trade Unions Media Statement
For immediate distribution: Thursday 29 October 2020
Unions urge Scottish Government: “Pick up the phone to Westminster” over financial guarantees for BiFab offshore wind contract
Ahead of a crucial summit this afternoon (Thursday 29 October) on the future of the stricken renewables manufacturing firm BiFab, where the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy Fiona Hyslop MSP will meet with representatives from GMB, Unite, STUC and BiFab’s Canadian owners DF Barnes, joint trade union secretaries Gary Smith and Pat Rafferty said:
“The Scottish Government’s decision to walk away from its previous commitments to guarantee BiFab’s manufacture of eight turbine jackets on the Neart Na Gaoithe (NnG) project has put these yards on the brink of administration.
“Our unions have a legal view that the Minister has no reason or obligation to walk away from BiFab under EU State Aid regulations, but putting to one side the government’s argument that will cease to exist in a few weeks’ time, there is another option.
“The Scottish Government can pick up the phone to the UK Government and ask for the guarantees needed to give these yards a lifeline, and the chance of a future for the communities dependent on them.
“The UK Government has the scope to intervene and an interdependent approach could hold the key to saving the best chance we have of building an offshore wind manufacturing supply chain in Scotland.
“The Scottish Government often points the finger elsewhere to explain away repeated failures over renewables jobs, so it would be surprising if they have not even picked up the phone to the UK government for help.
“Workers and their communities in Fife and Lewis have no time for a constitutional blame game, and both governments, given their lofty ambitions for green jobs, could and should work together to bring this badly needed contract to Scotland.”
Contact: GMB Scotland Communications on 07976 447077 or Unite Scotland Communications on 07810 157922
Notes to Editors: Copies the BiFab Joint Trade Unions’ legal opinion from Lord Davidson QC can be obtained on request from GMB Scotland and Unite Scotland communications.