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The Arnish yard in Lewis is expected to shut soon as parent company BiFab issues redundancy notices to staff in Lewis and Fife.

 

The very last turbine foundation structure has been completed and the site is being down-manned.

 

With an empty order book prospects look bleak for the firm’s three yards.

 

Arnish is now down to 30 employees - vastly reduced from a peak of 160 people just three months ago.

 

GMB Scotland union official Alan Ritchie said: “We are deeply concerned about the future of Arnish.

 

“We do think the yard is saveable and can be kept as a going concern.

 

“The GMB will battle to save Arnish and the other two yards.”

 

A BiFab spokesman said: “As we approach the end of the current project – and no further work is currently secured beyond, BiFab are going through a natural down-manning process and as such, through our statutory obligation we issue HR1 forms to notify the government of potential redundancies to permanent staff, where numbers proposed could exceed 20 employees.”

 

He added: “Issuing of the HR1 is part of the collective consultation process to inform staff about potential planned redundancies and not a decision that redundancies will take place.

 

“This type of action is typical to previous positions we find ourselves in being a project orientated type organisation.

 

“A number of target projects remain under tender – both within the renewables and oil and gas sectors, where further discussions continue in hope to secure further work across each of the BiFab sites and maintain continuity of employment in the business beyond the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project.

 

“It is not underestimated that the timing of securing those projects is now critical as work is coming to an end of existing work, which is scheduled to be complete by June of this year.

 

“As you will be aware from the media coverage back in November 2017 when BiFab was under threat of administration, a rescue package had been brokered by the company/project stakeholders and Scottish Government to allow BiFab to continue trading through to the completion of the Beatrice Project.

 

“This was excellent news for the company and its workforce at the time, which had come at a very difficult time for us all.”

 

Gates will shut at Methil and Burntisland in June with the shipping out of last of 26 turbine foundations for the Beatrice offshore wind scheme.

 

In November, the Scottish Government rescued the firm from the brink of administration by mediating in a payment dispute with the main Beatrice contractor.

 

Providing a £15 million loan pledge also helped BiFab through its severe cash flow problems.

 

 

Arnish yard prepares to close

13 February 2018