The Arnish yard of BiFab has been left with a skeleton staff of maintenance workers, with workers union the GMB yesterday confirming that all BiFab’s sites are ‘effectively closed.’
Isles MSP Alasdair Allan yesterday (Thursday July 12th) raised the situation with minister for business, fair work and skills Jamie Hepburn MSP, after hearing from the union that hopes for a resurgence in the company had been dashed.
Dr Allan said: “I am in regular dialogue with former yard employees. The reports that the company is giving little to no information to staff are quite concerning. Many months have gone by since the bulk of the workforce were made redundant and this is a long time to be out of work. There is a pressing need for orders to come to Arnish soon, and the company need to engage with their employees and the unions about their efforts on this front.”
Arnish is one of three sites operated by Burntisland Fabrications – the other two at Burntisland and Methil in Fife – which were holding out last hopes for salvation after major redundancies in January this year. Care and maintenance jobs amounting to two full-time positions remain at Arnish, with all the other workers laid off.
BiFab was bought out by Canadian company DF Barnes in a Scottish Government rescue deal which raised hopes of salvation, but the GMB yesterday said that, while 12 senior management positions had been secured, just seven part-time care and maintenance workers would be left across the three sites.
GMB Scotland organiser Alan Ritchie said: “We were promised a bright future by the new owners but the cold, hard truth is that these yards are now closed until new orders can be secured.
"There is also anger and resentment that some of the people responsible for the demise of BiFab have had their futures secured, while the workers who made the sacrifices to complete the Beatrice order have been steadily shown the door.
"This is a dark day for Fife and Lewis, and for the Scottish economy. Whether there is any light in the weeks and months to come remains to be seen.”