Dutch com­pany says pay­ments up to date

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS -

Bi­fab has been paid in full for work com­pleted on an off­shore wind­farm project, ac­cord­ing to the Dutch firm be­ing blamed for its fi­nan­cial woes.

Unite trade union pointed the fin­ger at Se­away Heavy Lift­ing (SHL), claim­ing it was hold­ing Fife work­ers to ran­som.

The off­shore com­pany is cur­rently sub­con­tract­ing Bi­fab to pro­duce 26 tur­bine jack­ets for the Beatrice off­shore wind­farm in the Mo­ray Firth.

With a work­force of 1,400 at Burn­tis­land, Methil and Ar­nish, Bi­fab has ad­mit­ted it is in a “crit­i­cal cash po­si­tion” amid claims SHL has not been pay­ing up.

How­ever, SHL in­sisted this was not the case. In a state­ment last night, the firm said: “We es­ti­mate that 61% of the work has been com­pleted and, as a re­sult, have paid Bi­fab 61% of the project value.”

Owned by Lux­em­bourg-in­cor­po­rated com­pany Sub­sea 7, SHL was awarded the main con­tract for the £2.6 bil­lion off­shore wind­farm.

Bi­fab faces an un­cer­tain fu­ture af­ter bosses filed court pa­pers giv­ing notification of in­tent to ap­point ad­min­is­tra­tors.

The move gave the com­pany a 10-day win­dow to resolve its cash­flow prob­lems.

On Mon­day all but one em­ploy­ment agency with staff at the yard pulled its work­ers out amid claims there was no money to pay wages.

One dis­grun­tled worker at the Methil yard claimed: “Se­away Heavy Lift­ing has only paid 20% of the job so far when it’s 70-odd per­cent com­plete.

“How they can ac­tu­ally get away with this is un­real. They also have his­tory of putting com­pany’s size of Bi­fab un­der.”

The worker ac­cused em­ploy­ment agen­cies at the yard, with the ex­cep­tion of NRL, of “pulling the plug on work­ers”.

He added: “NRL work­ers are fine and also NRL is pay­ing their work­ers this week and next.”

Pic­ture: Tina Nor­ris.

Sev­eral agen­cies have pulled their work­ers from the Bi­fab site.

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