STUC fury at Scottish Government BiFab announcement

November 24th 2020

STUC fury at Scottish Government BiFab announcement

November 24th 2020

**Scottish Government reputation for consultation with workers and supporting the renewables supply chain is in tatters says STUC **

The STUC has blasted the Scottish Government for acting in bad faith as it sneaked out a joint statement with the UK Government on pulling the plug on BiFab and breaking promises to keep unions informed of developments.

It said the Government’s timing of the statement and failure to consult with unions was designed to close down any further inspection of their decision-making process or options to save the yards.

STUC Deputy General Secretary Dave Moxham said:

“The Scottish Government trumpets its support for ‘Fair Work’ and ‘workers voice’ at every opportunity, but when it comes to key issues such as the future of hundreds of workers at BiFab they shut up shop and conspire with the Tories to keep Scottish workers out of the picture.”

Foyer said the STUC had received what they thought were cast iron guarantees from the Scottish Government that unions would be kept abreast of developments and be able to input their views. The STUC had only yesterday contacted Scottish Government officials seeking an update on developments on talks with the UK Government.

He continued:

“Another door has been slammed on the face of Bifab’s workers. The Scotland/UK joint government working group to be formed to consider ways to strengthen the renewables supply chain in Scotland’ is the thinnest of gruel. The abject failure of both governments to do anything to support Scottish workers - despite the ‘Saudi Arabia of renewables’ boast of each – is on show for all to see.”

Notes

BiFab Working Group - gov.scot (www.gov.scot) Text below

Statement from the Scottish and UK Governments. After exploring all options, both the UK and Scottish Governments have concluded that there is currently no legal route to provide further financial support to BiFab in its current form. A joint working group will be formed to consider ways to strengthen the renewables supply chain in Scotland and to secure future opportunities.

In a joint statement, the governments have committed to exploring options for the future of the yards and to strengthen measures to support the renewables supply chain.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“The Scottish Government has been working for more than three years to support BiFab.

“We have left no stone unturned in our search for a solution to the challenges faced by the business. As a minority shareholder, we have been exhaustive in our consideration of the options available to us to financially support BiFab from public funds.

“The Scottish Government has been clear that State Aid regulations are a barrier to us providing guarantees on the contract from Saipem to build foundation jackets for the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) project. The UK Government has similarly concluded that there is no legal route for them to provide support.

“The situation at BiFab is a culmination of a number of issues, the main one being the unwillingness of the parent company and majority shareholder JV Driver to provide working capital, investment or guarantees for the company.

“We are determined to secure a new future for the yards in Fife and the Western Isles. We will explore options for the future of these sites and, through this new working group, work with the UK Government to strengthen the renewables and clean energy supply chain.”

Background

Joint statement on BiFab from the Scottish and UK Governments:

Following discussion between the UK and Scottish Governments, ministers in both governments have concluded that, in the absence of a shareholder guarantee provided by BiFab’s majority shareholder, JV Driver, there is no legal route for either the Scottish or UK Governments to provide BiFab with the guarantees it would need to secure its contract with Saipem.

The UK and Scottish Governments are committed to investment in renewables and clean energy. The development of a domestic renewables supply chain is a key priority for both governments.

The UK and Scottish Governments are therefore convening a Joint Working Group to explore how existing policy measures can be used to strengthen the renewables and clean energy supply chain in Scotland, and look at options for the future of the sites where BiFab currently operates and other opportunities around Scotland, in a manner consistent with respective devolved and reserved competencies.

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