Agreement reached to save BiFab after talks

Hundreds of BiFab workers gathered in Edinburgh ready to march to the Scottish Parliament.
Hundreds of BiFab workers gathered in Edinburgh ready to march to the Scottish Parliament.
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A deal has been reached to stave off the immediate threat of administration for troubled engineering firm BiFab, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The move safeguards the immediate future of hundreds of jobs at the company’s yards, with two in Fife and one more on the Isle of Lewis.

Intensive talks were held all week between Scottish Government ministers and the Dutch contractor Seaway Heavy Lifting, following the latter’s dispute with BiFab.

BiFab will receive payments as part of the agreement to help with the company’s ‘immediate cash flow issues’.

The package for the firm, which warned last weekend it was in danger of going into administration, has been provided by Seaway Heavy Lifting, SSE and JCE Offshore.

READ MORE: Government doing ‘everything’ to protect BiFab jobs

Hundreds of the some 1,400 people employed at the yards staged a demonstration at the Scottish Parliament earlier this week.

In a statement, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am pleased that after an extensive series of talks over the last week and two days of intense negotiations we have been able to broker a commercial agreement that lifts the threat of administration from BiFab and allows work on the current contract to continue.

“In particular I welcome the moves made by Seaway Heavy Lifting, SSE and the partners in the Beatrice Project, JCE Offshore and Siemens to resolve this situation and enable BiFab to continue its work on this contract.”

She added: “While this deal lifts the immediate threat of administration, we recognise that there is a lot of work still to do to secure the long term position.

READ MORE: Hundreds of BiFab workers march on Holyrood

“Ministers will continue to work with BiFab, the trade unions and industry partners to identify ways to secure the long term future of renewables manufacturing on these sites.”

Union leaders Pat Rafferty of Unite and Gary Smith of the GMB said in a joint statement: “Make no mistake these yards would be closed today if it wasn’t for the dignity and determination of the workers and their families in Fife and Lewis to save their jobs and industry.

“With their futures on a knife edge they worked for nothing, stayed strong and resolute and by staying united they have won their future.

“Further, the Scottish government said they would leave no stone unturned and their efforts have been pivotal in bringing BiFab back from the brink.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “I welcome the fact that the combined pressure of BiFab workers, their trade unions and the public have forced a deal from the government.

“As we await the details of the deal, we must ensure that it protects all the 1,400 jobs under threat now and in the future.”