Yesterday in Parliament I held a cross party meeting at the Scottish Parliament to discuss the future of Burntisland Fabrications (BiFab). The meeting saw trade union representatives and workers from the yard lobby and answer questions with a number of MSPs from Scottish Labour, the SNP, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.
With the company coming to the end of its Beatrice Contract there are concerns that a gap in the order book could see reductions to full time staff with the possibility of two of the three yards having to close their gates.
I am pleased that workers had the opportunity to lobby MSPs directly just as they successfully did in 2015. I’d also like to thank all the MSPs that turned up to listen to their concerns, the turnout shows that BiFab workers have the clear support of the Scottish Parliament.
We must use that political will to try and secure the long term future of the yard. We must now put pressure on the UK Government and engage with the consortiums tendering their contracts for the year ahead.
Before Christmas the yard staved of administration in part due to a £15 million loan from the Scottish Government. It has also been announced that proposed court action from a German energy company has been postponed allowing both sides the opportunity to come to an amicable agreement.
Prior to the meeting, I raised the yard’s future directly with the First Minister, calling for continued Government support to ensure the company’s future. I had also held a similar lobby in 2015 ahead of the awarding of the current Beatrice contract, which led to cross party pressure on the UK Government to secure work for the yards.
It is vital that we plug the upcoming gap in BiFab’s order book and protect jobs at the three yards. I am determined to play my part and I welcome the clear commitment from fellow MSPs that we will work together in supporting workers at the yards.
When the Energy Park opened we were told it would play a leading role in the renewable sector. Sadly, that has failed to materialise. However, there is still much potential for both the Park and BiFab as an organisation and major employer in Fife. This must be realised.