The construction of offshore wind turbines off the Aberdeen coast should be awarded
to BiFab says a group of MSPs.
Politicians from different parties in Scotland are urging the UK government to help
the engineering firm - which operates the Arnish yard in Lewis and sister sites in
Fife - win the tender for the Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Project.
Manufacturing work at Arnish ceased in December. Only eight staff remain following
a wave of redundancies.
Further pay-offs means only two people will be on site as the yard is put on care
and maintenance shortly.
With an empty order book, BiFab’s yards in Methil and Burntisland are also downsizing
and due to close in weeks.
Echoing the message voiced repeatedly by the Scottish Government, the comhairle,
unions and workers, new investment and a need to win tenders to desperately required
says a cross-party group of MSPs.
Earlier this month they met with trade union representatives from GMB and Unite to
discuss the company’s future.
Now they have written to UK Business Secretary Greg Clark saying “as the Beatrice
(windfarm) 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
The letter adds: “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.”
However, the Kincardine scheme - for a small array of turbines off Aberdeen - is
privately owned and the decision over opting for one bidder over the next will be
made on commercial grounds.
Delays to the project may hold up the award of contracts it is feared.
The operator is also seeking seven turbines over two phases, instead of eight as
BiFab has pitched for the work but is up against competition.
In their letter the MSPs point out “too much” contract work for windfarms north of
the border is going outwith Scotland.
In November, the Scottish Government rescued the firm from the brink of administration
by mediating in a payment dispute with the main contractor for the Beatrice wind
A £15 million loan pledge also helped BiFab through its severe cash flow problems.