Labour demands government intervention in BiFab over agency fears
Scottish Labour has demanded that the Scottish Government intervene directly on behalf of BiFab’s core workforce over fears that the company’s new owners plan to rehire the workers on an agency basis.
In a statement to the government, BiFab’s core workforce outlined their fears. BiFab’s new owners - Barnes/Drive - have refused to engage with the relevant trade unions. The workers believe that “it has been the intention of Barnes/Driver all along to sack the fulltime Union core workforce and then start back non Union agency personnel.”
They also claim that Barnes/Driver have systematically misled “the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and the [unions].” They warn that keeping on the old management (who oversaw the company’s slide into administration) while sacking the workforce will see contracts dry up, as it will only prove the company’s naivety.
The workers had offered a number of compromises, included week-by-week hiring, but these have been rejected by the new owners.
Most painfully for the Scottish Government, they warn that public money will now be misspent “creating temporary working instead of fulltime working.”
Responding to the statement, Scottish Labour's Economy spokesperson Jackie Baillie MSP has demanded that the Scottish Government take action:
"The position at BiFab is deeply concerning and raises serious questions about the SNP government's recent handling of the crisis.
"Trade unions and the workforce deserve praise for their courageous fight to protect jobs.
"Laying off the highly-skilled core workforce would devastate families and communities - and lead to a loss of skills and experience that would be impossible to replace.
"The SNP government simply cannot be in a position where it has allowed itself to be a facilitator for making skilled workers redundant and replaced with insecure agency work.
"That is an outrage and SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay must immediately address these reports and take swift action to ensure these skills are not lost for good."