Bifab wins government support in bid to break contract deadlock
The Scottish Government has pledged to do whatever it can to help a struggling Fife engineering firm after “disputed payments” sparked a financial crisis.
Economy secretary Keith Brown said ministers would help to try and achieve a solution at Burntisland Fabrications Ltd (Bifab).
Bifab said it had been left facing a “critical cash position” as a result of ongoing contracts. The firm has filed a notice of its intention to appoint administrators.
Staff have voted to continue working until further notice despite the risk of not getting paid. Bifab, which makes equipment for both the oil and gas industry and the renewable energy sector, directly employs about 600 people at its yards in Burntisland and Methil in Fife and Arnish on the Isle of Lewis.
Asked what the Scottish Government was doing to help, Mr Brown said: “This is a contract between private companies and the issues that have arisen have been between those private companies, but of course we are very interested and want to do what we can to help to try to achieve a solution.”
Unions claimed the engineering firm’s financial diffi- culties were a direct result of the main Dutch-owned contractor, Seaway Heavy Lifting (SHL), not paying the company for contract work already completed.
GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith called on the government to act quickly to get to the root of the contractual dispute.
Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Mark Ruskell urged ministers to speak with the Dutch government about SHL in efforts to find a way through the impasse.
“All angles need to be covered in attempts to safeguard these valuable jobs,” he said.