Both the Scottish and UK governments will offer no further support for the BiFab yards, in what has been described as a “devastating blow” for workers.
Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop declared there was nothing more either administration could “legally” do to support the stricken manufacturer.
Released just minutes before the coronavirus Christmas “bubble” rules were announced, Ms Hyslop laid the blame of the yard’s failure squarely at majority shareholder JV Driver.
Workers only found out about the fate of their workplaces after the Economy Secretary sent her statement to the press and did not liaise with them or their unions about the news.
Scottish Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Alex Rowley said he is “devastated” by the announcement and said there had still been a “way forward” to save jobs.
In a joint statement, the governments announced a working group would look at how the supply chain operated in Scotland and the UK.
It comes after energy bosses said Scottish manufacturing costs were too high to be considered in the use of the country’s offshore wind farm developments, like the NnG site and Seagreen.
Both EDF and SSE said they could not afford to purchase jackets from the yard due to the restraints of the contract for difference (CfD) involved in the projects.
Legal advice given to the Scottish Government advising them to pull support for BiFab should still be made public, Mr Rowley has said.
“This is a devastating blow for Fife and Scotland’s renewable sector. We were promised we would see tens of thousands of jobs come to the renewables sector.
“It really leaves a massive question mark about both the UK and Scottish governments’ approach and handling of the renewable sector.
“I will still ask that the Scottish Government publish its legal advice which led to their making a judgement to pull the guarantee.
“Like the trade unions, I believe there was a way forward to save the yards and the jobs which would come from it.
“I am really devastated.”
Unions slate governments for ‘decade of failure’
GMB and Unite union secretaries Gary Smith and Pat Rafferty, in a joint statement, said: “Until the Scottish Government publishes the legal advice over its decision to walk away from BiFab, all the difficult questions remain unanswered.
“This evening’s statement is also disappointing given that our members learned of this through the media – it makes a mockery of the so-called fair work agenda.
“The demise of Scotland’s best shot at building a manufacturing supply chain for offshore wind is down to a decade of failure from successive SNP and Tory Governments.”
‘Determined to secure a future’
Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop said the Scottish Government had left “no stone unturned” in its attempts to help.
She said: “The Scottish Government has been working for more than three years to support BiFab.
“We have left no stone unturned in our search for a solution to the challenges faced by the business. As a minority shareholder, we have been exhaustive in our consideration of the options available to us to financially support BiFab from public funds.
“The Scottish Government has been clear that state aid regulations are a barrier to us providing guarantees on the contract from Saipem to build foundation jackets for the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) project.
“The UK Government has similarly concluded that there is no legal route for them to provide support.
“The situation at BiFab is a culmination of a number of issues, the main one being the unwillingness of the parent company and majority shareholder, JV Driver, to provide working capital, investment or guarantees for the company.”
“We are determined to secure a new future for the yards in Fife and the Western Isles. We will explore options for the future of these sites and, through this new working group, work with the UK Government to strengthen the renewables and clean energy supply chain.”