Trade unions back Canadian owners’ drive to win new Scots offshore wind-ustry work for BiFab yards

Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister, on the picket line with Bi-Fab workers in Fife over Beatrice wind farm wages dispute in 2017.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister, on the picket line with Bi-Fab workers in Fife over Beatrice wind farm wages dispute in 2017.

Scots trade unions officials have expressed confidence that the new Canadian owners of three Scottish fabrication yards have a commercial future.

Union chiefs had raised concerns that BiFab’s two yards in Fife and one on Lewis had been mothballed, with most staff laid off.

But after a meeting with unions, the yards’ new owners, DF Barnes in Canada – a subsidiary of JV Driver, which acquired BiFab in April in a Scottish government-backed rescue package – said in a statement that ‘it is working tirelessly to win new engineering work.’

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, in particular, put in a lot of heavy-lifting with DF Barnes to oil the take-over and keep the BiFab yards in work.

GMB Scotland general secretary Gary Smith and UNITE Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said afterwards that they were now satisfied that JV Driver had a short and long-term plan to ensure the fabrication yards were in the supply chain for future offshore wind farms.

In a joint statement, they said: “For all the wind turbines that we have in Scotland, the fact is the manufacturing supply chain is almost non-existent.

“We are satisfied now that the Canadian acquisition of BiFab is a unique opportunity to address the lack of a manufacturing supply chain in the Scottish renewables sector.

“It is also clear to us the company want to make Bifab a world leader in the renewables and energy sector with the Scottish yards being key to that success.

“The company have assured us that they are committed to working with our unions and to create a successful business that creates highly skilled jobs in Scotland.

“Our message to the wind farm developers about to award these contract is quite simple.

“It cannot be the case that the people of Scotland, who pay a premium on their energy bills to subsidise the offshore wind-farms, are denied the opportunity to build those wind farms.

“We have a fantastic skilled workforce in Scotland and the wind farms that are going to be put in Scottish waters should be built right here in Scotland in the three Bifab yards.

It is now pressing and vital that we secure contracts for the yards which BiFab are currently tendering for.”

31 Jul 2018

Pixie Energy

Pixie logo Pixie Energy is an incubator and a facilitator of strategic research and project work, focusing on energy regulation, policy and markets at the local and national level. Find out more about Pixie Energy here.

Local Energy Matters: Scotland

Local Energy Matters: Scotland is a free-to-download brochure with a focus on energy tariffs in the two Scottish electricity distribution regions, as well news on local energy and low-carbon schemes.

Previous editions can be download here.

Scottish energy market overview

You can read an overview of the Scottish energy market here.

Scottish Government energy feed