Following the cross-party BiFab meeting I arranged before recess, it was agreed that we would join together to lobby the U.K. Government to call for their support for BiFab and their yards.
These yards are vital for the Fife economy and the workers in Methil and Burntisland deserve all the praise they have been receiving for the work that they are continuing to do during these precarious times for the company.
That is why I was joined by MSPs from all parties as we put our names to a letter to the Business Secretary Greg Clark calling on him to do all he can to encourage investment into BiFab and work towards the Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Project being awarded to Burntisland Fabrications.
Parliament is speaking with one voice on this. All five parties have signed the letter and we are all clear, the future of BiFab must be secured
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. Continue reading →
Recently I met with BiFab workers and trade union representatives at their yard in Methil to discuss their future and concerns as we near the end of their current Beatrice contract.
I also raised the issue directly with the First Minister during FMQs where I called for continued Government support to ensure we can protect jobs and the company can survive any gap in their order book.
That is why I am hosting a meeting in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow to allow trade union members to meet and lobby MSPs from all parties as we work to secure the future of the yards.
I previously held a similar lobby in 2015, which led to cross party pressure on the UK Government ahead of the awarding of the current Beatrice contract. Continue reading →
Today I questioned the Energy Minister as he announced that the current moratorium on fracking will be extended indefinitely.
As a long time campaigner against fracking in my region welcome this move, however it still stops short of an outright ban. I’ve been campaigning against fracking and UCG locally since 2012 and I will continue to support any efforts to introduce a full legislative ban.
I do not believe that the potential risks to public health and the environment have been addressed and I believe that the exploitation of another fossil fuel will hamper our climate change priorities. Continue reading →
Following the successful campaign to have underground coal gasification banned in Fife and across Scotland I have today called for the Scottish Government to back plans to ban fracking in Scotland and ensure a “frack free Fife”.
The banning of UCG was only the first step. Now the Scottish Government must work with Scottish Labour in banning fracking. Anything less is unacceptable.
All evidence points to the fact that fracking, yet another fossil fuel, will have a negative impact on our environment. It is an unnecessary and environmentally damaging process that has no place in Fife.
This is about the air we breathe, that water we drink and the communities we live in. That is why Labour will change the law and ban fracking in Scotland, just as we promised in our election manifesto.
My colleague Claudia Beamish MSP, has launched a consultation to ban the continuous process in Scotland and I would encourage everyone to put forward a submission to the consultation and unite behind calls for a frack free Fife.
Earlier this year the Scottish Parliament passed a motion calling for such a ban. The motion was passed due to Labour votes as a result of the SNP abstaining. The Scottish Government must listen to locals and community groups, the very people that will be impacted by the potential of drilling under their homes.
Tomorrow the Scottish Parliament can vote for a ban on fracking in Scotland after Scottish Labour submitted an amendment to a Government motion that calls for the ban to be introduced.
I have been campaigning for some time for a Frack Free Fife and this week offers the perfect opportunity for all Fife politicians to unite behind that goal.
Currently the Scottish Government has stopped short of implanting a full ban on fracking, introducing a moratorium (a short term pause) on the process instead. This is despite repeated calls from Scottish Labour, the Lib-Dems and the Green’s for an outright ban.
The Scottish Government can take decisive action against UCG and fracking in Fife and we know that from community groups, to national environmental organisations, to Fife Council there is support for an outright ban. Continue reading →
Today I was pleased to welcome workers and trade union representatives from BiFab to meet with MSPs from all parties to discuss the future of the yard.
Previously I have raised and discussed with the Government fears over the yards future as it competes for contracts. It is vital that we all work together to secure the future of the yards and workforce in Methil, Burntisland and Arnish.
I was pleased to welcome Richard Leonard, Michael Sullivan, Alan Ritchie and Gary Smith from GMB and Bob McGregor from Unite to hear workers concerns.
On Thursday the Energy Minister delivered a statement on the future of Longannet Power Station in the Scottish Parliament.
Following the statement I was able to ask a question about the future of the site and warn about the impact of further job losses to the local economy, particularly on the back of the recent announcement of redundancies at Havelock Europa.
I will be raising the job losses at Havelock Europa on Wednesday during Finance Question.
In the meantime you can watch the statement on the video below. The statement starts 46 mins 30 seconds into the video and my question starts at 1 hour 12 minutes and 50 seconds.
The news confirming that Samsung are pulling out of Methil is another massive blow to the local Levenmouth economy and to the future of Fife Energy Park. Samsung’s pullout takes with them the promise of 500 jobs made by former First Minister Alex Salmond and follows fears of potential job losses at Burntisland Fabrications, (BiFab).On Monday (6th July) the Scottish Government will be visiting Fife to hold a cabinet meeting and I have called for them to visit Fife Energy Park during their trip and respond to concerns of the workforce over the park’s future.
Announcing the trip, the First Minister said these visits were the opportunity for the Scottish Government to learn about the important issues affecting locals. If the First Minister is serious about listening to concerns of locals then she will agree to visit the park, less than 30 minutes away. Continue reading →