Fife Council stands ready to help BiFab workers

© DC Thomson
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited BiFab when its short-term future was secured last month

Fife Council and Scottish Enterprise remain in daily contact with BiFab as the company prepares to enter 2018 with its long-term fate still far from certain.

The firm, which employs 1,400 people in Fife and Lewis, teetered on the brink of administration three times last month as intensive talks to secure its future took place.

An agreement on a financial package to complete the current contract for the Beatrice offshore windfarm only guarantees work until next April at the BiFab yards in Burntisland and Methil.

Up to 140 jobs at the yard in Arnish near Stornoway are expected to be lost by the end of the year.

Keith Brown, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, has said he believes BiFab has a viable long-term future after the government helped secure a deal with contractors to keep the business afloat.

Fife Council co-leader David Ross said work was ongoing to ensure that was the case.

“Obviously the council was very pleased with news of the agreement that saved BiFab from going into administration,” he said.

“This will see continuation of the work on the current contract for the Beatrice offshore windfarm project, safeguarding activity at the two yards in Fife.”

The Labour councillor said the local authority had been in close contact with the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise throughout the recent negotiations.

“Looking ahead, the council and Scottish Enterprise remain in daily contact with the company on a number of areas, including securing future contracts for offshore work,” he said.

Discussions are also being held on potential improvements at the Fife Energy Park at Methil, where BiFab is the largest tenant.

Bosses are also exploring how future workforce requirements can be better met through an apprentice programme supported by the council.

Mr Ross said the authority was preparing for every eventuality.

“No compulsory redundancies have been announced to date,” he said.

“However, in the event there are any announced in the future, Fife Council stands ready to deliver a range of services to people facing redundancy.

“That is the current position and the council is keeping in very close touch with the company.”