Firms working on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route are to hold urgent discussions following the collapse of one of the main contractors.
Following the announcement Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) contractor Carillion is to go into liquidation, the other two major contractors Galliford Try plc and Balfour Beatty are to complete the remaining work.
And Galliford Try and Balfour Beatty are now looking to carry out urgent talks with the Official Receiver of Carillion and Transport Scotland to clarify the position and minimise any impact on the construction of the route.
A statement released by Galliford Try said: “The Group is in joint venture with Carillion and Balfour Beatty on the £550 million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route contract.
“The terms of the contract are such that the remaining joint venture members, Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try, are obliged to complete the contract.
“Our current estimate of the additional cash contribution outstanding from Carillion to complete the project is £60m-£80m, of which any shortfall will be funded equally between the joint venture members.
“The companies will discuss the position urgently with the Official Receiver of Carillion and Transport Scotland, to minimise any impact on the project.
“Galliford Try has no other significant contracts or projects with Carillion.”
Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, said: “Our first thoughts are with those Carillion employees who will be concerned for their jobs and we are in discussions with the liquidators and the UK Government regarding the measures they intend to put in place regarding private sector, Network Rail and UK Government-backed contracts in Scotland to support Carillion employees and to secure the completion of these contracts.
“The Scottish Government has been working to manage or eliminate risks associated with Carillion’s difficulties since July last year and we have contingency plans in place for affected contracts, including the AWPR where the contract contains a mechanism for the remaining two joint venture partners to deliver the project and we expect that work to continue.”
The Evening Express contacted Balfour Beatty for comment, but was directed to Transport Scotland.
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “First of all, our thoughts are with the Carillion workers affected by the announcement.
“We are working closely with the two remaining partners in the Aberdeen Roads Limited (ARL) consortium to understand the impact of this announcement on those people employed by Carillion and, if any, on the AWPR/B-T project.
“However, we can confirm that this announcement generates no direct costs to Scottish Government as each construction partner of Aberdeen Roads Limited is joint and severally liable for the delivery of the contract.
“We under-stand that Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try will now take the necessary steps to jointly deliver the remainder of this project.
“We will work closely with ARL to mitigate any impacts that may arise as a consequence of this announcement.”
Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has written to both Aberdeen Roads Limited and Mr Brown for assurances regarding the final construction stages of the AWPR.
She said: “This will be an uncertain time for those employed by the firm both in Scotland and throughout the UK and I will be raising concerns about their situation too.
“While it is clear Carillion is in difficulty at the moment, we should remain positive ongoing efforts to restructure and secure its future will prove successful.
“The AWPR has been a long-awaited project for the North-east which has been thanks to the determination of the Scottish Government.
“I am hopeful that every necessary step will be taken to bring this huge infrastructure to its completion date in the spring.”
Meanwhile, union Unite Scotland is lining up legal action after it said Carillion breached redundancy notice obligations.
As a result, Unite is set to take legal action to preserve workers’ rights in the face of what it calls the “irresponsible actions” of Carillion directors.
Pat Rafferty, Unite’s Scottish Secretary, said: “Given the drastic events it’s clear that Carillion was legally obliged to give notice to the workforce in December of the possibility of redundancies.
“It hasn’t done that. So Unite is taking advice about legal action to secure the pay and pension rights of our members.”
No one from Carillion was available for comment.