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Scottish yard workers face uncertainty

Written by  OE Staff Monday, 13 November 2017 13:40

Workers at a fabrication yard in Scotland will continue working without pay so that their employer can complete a contract, according to the BBC.

Burnt Island Fabrications, or BiFab, in Fife, told staff yesterday it didn't have enough cash to pay them, saying the company had an issue with cash flow. 

The firm is working on an order from Seaway Heavy Lifting, owned by Subsea 7, for 26 wind turbine jacket foundations for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm, in the Outer Moray Firth, 13km off Scotland. Some 84 jackets in total will be installed as part of the project.

Under a £100 million contract, BiFab was due to deliver 10 of the structures in August 2017 and a further 16 by April 2018. They're being built at BiFab's Methil and Burntisland yards in Fife and its Arnish yard on the Isle of Lewis. 

BiFab's managing director Martin Adam is reported to have said in a statement: “We are very disappointed that we have found ourselves in the current position which has arisen as a result of a challenging situation in respect of our ongoing contracts which have been providing much-needed employment locally in Scotland.

“We are seeking a rapid solution with our key stakeholders and the Scottish Executive to our current cash flow position and are hopeful that this can be achieved quickly to secure the future of the business and the 1400-strong workforce.”

In a statement, Seaway Heavy Lifting said: "SHL has been working with BiFab for many months to support them as they address their production problems and cost overruns. We have continued to pay the company on time and in line with our contract. 

"We expect the shareholders of BiFab to stand behind the performance of the company. SHL has always been keen to support BiFab’s workforce but we need BiFab’s shareholders to provide it with the financial stability it requires. 

"Our priority is to ensure that our client Beatrice Offshore Wind Ltd (BOWL) has the jackets in place ready to unlock the next phase of this exciting project. We remain committed to working with all stakeholders to find a solution that delivers the Beatrice Project to BOWL on schedule." 

Union GMB Scotland has said the Scottish Government and industry stakeholders should "pull together" to support Bi-Fab.

It says 1400 jobs, both direct and the supply-chain, are under threat. GMB says BiFab told workers today that it had no money left to pay workers' wages.

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