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
You can read the full text of the letter below:
You will be aware of the ongoing situation at Burntisland Fabrications’ (BiFab) yards in Methil, Burntisland and Arnish. Recently, a cross party group of MSPs met with trade union representatives from GMB and Unite, along with workers, to discuss the company’s future.
As the Beatrice contract comes to an end, it is clear to us that the only way to secure the future of these yards and the skilled workforce is with the guarantee of a new contract.
During the recent threat of administration, we saw the dedication and value of BiFab’s workforce. Whilst the challenges at BiFab have been well documented in recent months, at no point have the skills, experience, commitment and determination of the workforce been in doubt. This highly skilled group of workers deserve our support and there are concerns that if no statement of intent regarding the awarding of a new contract is given, that these jobs will be lost to other areas or lost from the economy completely. This would be a tragedy for local communities and devastating for the local economies of the areas in question.
The renewable energy industry could provide a lifeline to revitalise our indigenous fabrication, engineering and steel industry base. It is a valuable sector to Scotland but too much of the contract work is placed outside of our country.
We are aware that there are a number of contracts coming up in the near future for fabrication work with the first expected to be the awarding of the Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Project. We would urge in the strongest terms that this contract take into account its wider responsibility to the Scottish economy and believe that BiFab would be best placed to receive the contract.
We recognise that the decision on which companies will be awarded roles in these projects is not within the discretion of the UK Government and that it is a commercial decision. As the Beatrice contract comes to an end, it is clear to us that the only way to secure the future of these yards and the skilled workforce is securing new investors in the business and the guarantee of a new contract. Therefore, we are asking you and the UK Government to do all that you can to encourage contracts to come to BiFab.
With Arnish now closed and HR1s being implemented there are fears that Burntisland will close by March an early statement of intent would help secure jobs between the end of the Beatrice contract and the start of a Kincardine contract. Any support that the UK Government can give to support workers and retain jobs at the yards would be strongly welcomed.
Alasdair Allan MSP, Na h-Eileanan an Iar (SNP)
Jackie Baillie MSP, Dumbarton (Scottish Labour)
Claire Baker MSP, Mid Scotland and Fife Region (Scottish Labour)
Annabelle Ewing MSP, Cowdenbeath (SNP)
Neil Findlay MSP, Lothian Region (Scottish Labour)
Jenny Gilruth MSP, Mid Fife and Glenrothes (SNP)
Rhoda Grant MSP, Highlands and Islands Region (Scottish Labour)
Patrick Harvie MSP, Glasgow Region (Green)
Richard Leonard MSP, Central Scotland Region (Scottish Labour)
Dean Lockhart MSP, Mid Scotland and Fife Region (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party)
Lewis Macdonald MSP, North East Scotland Region (Scottish Labour)
Willie Rennie MSP, North East Fife (Scottish Liberal Democrats)
Alex Rowley MSP, Mid Scotland and Fife Region (Scottish Labour)
Mark Ruskell MSP, Mid Scotland and Fife Region (Green)
Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Dunfermline (SNP)
Alexander Stewart MSP, Mid Scotland and Fife Region (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party)
David Stewart MSP, Highlands and Islands Region (Scottish Labour)
Maree Todd MSP, Highlands and Islands Region (SNP)
David Torrance MSP, Kirkcaldy (SNP)