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Hebrides News


The last full time BiFab employee at the Arnish yard on Lewis has been made redundant.


The site is now on part time care and maintenance on a week to week basis.


All manufacturing activity has ceased at the site - months ahead of the closure of BiFab’s yards in Methil and Burntisland in Fife as the firm’s sole remaining job - for the Breatrice offshore wind farm - winds down.


Some 160 people worked at the Lewis yard last year but the final offshore wind farm structure has been shipped out.


BiFab is in talks with a potential new owner.


But its order book is presently empty and the firm is desperately pitching for new tenders.


Redundancies saw workforce numbers on Lewis gradually reduce.


Eight went earlier this month and the last man departed on Friday lunchtime.

However, BiFab has agreed to take on a part-time skeleton crew to maintain the Stornoway yard.


Six islanders will work in squads of three on alternative weeks.


This keeps BiFab compliant with a crucial lease clause with development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise which requires the island yard to be manned at all times.


However, it also prevents the lease falling and the site actively marketed to try and attract any other potential operator.


Meanwhile, BiFab is a serious contender for a lifeline wind farm contract.


The firm is up against only one other rival - understood to be a major competitor - to build six foundations structures for a marine wind farm off Aberdeen.


BiFab says it is tendering for a number of projects in renewables and oil and gas sectors and hope to “secure further work across each of the BiFab sites and maintain continuity of employment in the business” beyond the present Beatrice contract.


The firm highlighted securing those projects is “critical.”

Last full time employee leaves Arnish yard

26 March 2018