Unions ‘furious’ after BiFab and EDF offshore wind farm deal breaks down

The Scottish Government’s pledge to create thousands of renewables jobs is “in tatters” after the collapse of a deal between BiFab and EDF over the manufacture of jackets for the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore wind farm.

Unions 'furious' after BiFab and EDF offshore wind farm deal breaks down

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) said 500 jobs are set to be lost after support was pulled from BiFab just days before the Scottish Parliament’s finance committee was being asked to approve a support package.

When financial close was reached on the NnG project in November, it was revealed that all of the project’s 54 turbines would be assembled at the Port of Dundee before being sailed to the site, with Scottish engineering firm BiFab building eight of the foundation jackets.

Despite claims by the Scottish and UK Governments and SSE that they want to create supply chain jobs in Scotland, STUC has wanted that the future of potentially thousands of workers appears to have been lost.

General secretary Roz Foyer said: “This is a hammer blow for workers desperately in need of a future, and for the communities of Fife and at Arnish.  After more than two years of valiant struggle, they have been abandoned, just at the time that construction and manufacturing in renewables should be taking centre stage.

“Despite the Scottish Government’s protestations regarding State Aid, few observers of industry will doubt that governments and competitor companies in Europe would be standing up for their own supply chain and their own workers.  We need to know when the Scottish Government took that view that Bi-Fab would go into liquidation and we want to see the legal advice on which that view is based.

“We will not give up even if others appear to have done so.  It’s time now to hear from the First Minister and the UK Prime Minister about how their respective claims about a green jobs revolution squares with this bitter news.”

The secretaries of Unite Scotland and GMB Scotland have also criticised the Scottish Government over the collapse of the deal.

Unite Scotland secretary Pat Rafferty and GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith stated: “It looks like the Scottish government ministers have walked away from our best chance of building a meaningful offshore wind manufacturing sector, and in doing so have extinguished the hopes of communities in Fife and Lewis who were banking their future prosperity on it.

“It’s a scandalous end to a decade which started with promises of a ‘Saudi Arabia of Renewables’ supporting 28,000 full-time jobs in offshore wind and now finishes in mothballed fabrication yards and no prospect of any contracts or jobs on the horizon.

“Both the first minister and the prime minister promised a green jobs revolution but they didn’t tell anyone it would be exported, and it all amounts to broken promises to workers who needed these yards to be thriving instead of dying.

“The fabrication contracts for NnG, just like those on the Seagreen project, will be manufactured by the rest of the world. Two projects worth a total of £5 billion, requiring 168 turbine jackets to power our future, and not even one will be built in Scotland – everyone needs to let that sink in.

“This is what political failure looks like and people are right to be absolutely furious.” 

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