A deal that will see a share of a £2 billion windfarm project awarded to Burntisland Fabrications (BiFab) yards in Fife has come in for fierce criticism.
BiFab is expected to secure a contract to build eight of the 53 turbine jackets needed for the Neart Na Gaoithe offshore scheme, creating work for around 200 people in Methil in the process.
However, with the vast majority of the construction work expected to be carried out more than 7,000 miles away in Indonesia, unions and politicians have suggested the “paltry return” is nothing short of “scandalous” for yards situated little more than 10 miles from where the windfarm will be sited.
Claire Baker, Labour MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, welcomed the potential creation of jobs in the short term but questioned why a larger proportion of the contract is not being awarded.
“The expected award of just eight turbine jackets to BiFab, while 45 will be manufactured elsewhere, is a blow for local renewables manufacturing and for the skilled and committed workforce in Fife,” she said.
“If BiFab is to secure the contracts required for a sustainable future we need investment to modernise the yards and action from the Scottish Government to address competitive disadvantage in the award of these large contracts.
“We cannot be content to pick up the scraps from major contracts while the bulk of work goes elsewhere.”
The GMB and Unite unions released a joint statement suggesting the price of political failure will be paid by working class communities.
“It would be a paltry return for Scottish renewables manufacturing,” the statement said.
“The prospect of just eight turbine jackets coming to Fife while the vast majority are built in Indonesia is scandalous.
“This is a Scottish offshore wind project that will be largely delivered by cheap foreign labour and then shipped on diesel burning barges to the Fife coast.
“The renewables lobby and every politician that has promised a green jobs revolution must be cringing.
“The contract is a very small crumb of comfort to the local communities in Methil and Burntisland.”
Lesley Laird, Labour MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath and Shadow Scottish Secretary, said: “At this stage – given negotiations are still continuing – I remain cautiously optimistic of a positive outcome.
“I’d like to pay tribute to the Fife Ready For Renewal campaigners who fought so hard to keep their message front right and centre.
“Of course, we all want to see BiFab awarded a substantial share of the NnG contract, but even a smaller share gives the firm a vital opportunity to build a more stable, prosperous future in the renewables sector as further contracts come up later this year.”
A spokesman for BiFab owners DF Barnes said: “We are working flat out secure additional work for our yards in Fife.
“We believe discussions are heading in the right direction.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said it would “not be appropriate to comment on the specifics of the project” but that the government “encourage all parties to work towards a positive outcome”.