The BiFab marine engineering yards in Fife and Lewis are expected to close in June with the loss of hundreds of jobs, according to unions.

Unions say 260 jobs at yards in Fife and Arnish on Lewis are to go by early summer, with the possible total closure of the yards by the end of June.

Bob McGregor, regional officer at Unite, said: “The workers there have fought for their future and it is difficult to believe that it can now be snatched away from them. The closures of these yards will turn these areas into an industrial graveyard.”

In November, the yards were threatened with closure over a dispute with a major sub-subcontractor on the Beatrice Wind farm contract for the Cromarty Firth. BiFab workers occupied the yards and called for Scottish Government intervention to save them. Industry minister Keith Brown and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon brokered a deal involving all the major contractors to save the yards.

However, the Beatrice Wind farm contract is now coming to a close.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “This will be hugely concerning for the workers affected and their families.

“Scottish ministers have offered support to BiFab to allow work to continue on the contracts for the Beatrice offshore wind farm development through a loan facility and have been fully focused and working intensively to secure a long-term future for the company.”

For the Labour Party on the Islands, Matt Bruce, chair of the local CLP said: “The WICLP sympathise with the workforce at Arnish where the future of jobs is now bleak. Whilst it is a statutory 45-day notice across BiFab it is the end for the jobs at Arnish. 

“It highlights the lack of any long-term planning in Scotland that actually promotes renewable energy projects having a local benefit to island communities which endeavour to benefit from the huge resource of wind energy that we enjoy.

“An Islands Bill needs to be able to ensure that an islands fund is created to deliver actual employment – action is needed this year to sort problems, not just studies on the problems.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant earlier said Scottish Labour will work with the SNP Government and trade unions to try to save jobs at Arnish.

“Workers and their families are rightly very concerned about the future of their jobs and there needs to be immediate action by the Scottish Government to see what can be done to help them,” said Mrs Grant.

“I would urge the Government and agencies such as HIE to look at securing future contracts to safe-guard the long-term future of BiFab.”

Negotiations with the Scottish Government and potential investors are ongoing and joint trade union meetings are due to take place. Mrs Grant met with the joint trade unions last week in the Parliament to explore any avenues to keep people in work

Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Lesley Laird, also said: "BiFab is very much on the radar of both the Scottish and UK Governments and I’m optimistic that, if we all work together and stay focused, we will hopefully secure a positive outcome."