Unions furious after Scottish renewables contracts tendered abroad

The GMB and Unite, which represent workers on the BiFab yards in Fife, have condemned moves to award the contracts for the new Moray East and Kincardine offshore wind farm projects to firms from Spain, Belgium and the UAE while the Scottish yard lies dormant.

The Moray East and Kincardine offshore wind farm projects have a total value of around £2.8bn and while BiFab’s new Canadian owners DF Barnes have been actively pursuing contracts from both, the work has been awarded to Spanish state shipbuilders Nevantia.

Meanwhile, the Moray East project procurement firm GeoSea DEME has awarded contracts for one hundred turbine jackets to UAE fabricators Lamprell and Belgian steel constructors Smulders.

In a joint statement, GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith and Unite Scotland Secretary Pat Rafferty warned that “there is a real possibility the yards in Fife could end up with nothing from the Moray East and Kincardine projects", adding: “We believe DF Barnes and the Scottish Government are fighting hard to secure contracts but they are trying to negotiate their way through a spaghetti bowl of vested interest groups with established supply chains of preference."

“The truth is that state funded European energy and engineering firms, backed by Far East finance and Middle East sovereign wealth funds, are carving-up thousands of jobs and billions of pounds from our renewables sector."

“To working class communities in Burntisland and Methil this doesn’t look anything like a just transition or a green jobs revolution - it looks like a future that’s heavily rigged against their hopes for employment and prosperity."

“The immediate challenge for everyone is to try and break this international stranglehold on the Scottish renewables sector and get work and investment flowing into the Fife yards.”

After the BiFab yards were rescued from administration by the Scottish Government the new Canadian-based owners, DF Barnes, had hoped to receive the tenders for a series of renewable projects to revive the yards.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We have made a long-term investment in the company and are in regular contact with BiFab, however we do not participate in operational management decisions."

“It was clear at the point new ownership was secured that conditions would remain challenging for the yards and new contracts would have to be won to secure future work."

“We have confidence that everything possible is being done to secure new contracts and to restore employment both in the Western Isles and Fife.”


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