Scottish workers unions have been asked to adopt a ‘unified sense of hope’ over the current situation of Burntisland Fabrication (BiFab) as the Scottish Government heads into negotiations to save the troubled firm.
An agreement between the government and the unions to remain optimistic is suggestive of a potential deal on the table, however, neither Unite or GMB would confirm any new contracts.
A spokesman for Unite said: “We’re staying hopeful that there are investors waiting in the wings. We’re trying to be as positive as we can. The Scottish Government have asked us to be positive and we’ll go along with that.”
GMB said that they too were “hopeful” of a deal and that workers are “satisfied” with the way Economy Secretary Keith Brown was handling the situation, but added that it was still a “race against time”.
BiFab, which employs around 1,400 workers, was saved from administration late last year by the Scottish Government issuing a loan of £15million to ensure they could meet their commercial commitments and meet contract deadlines.
The engineering firm has three yards in Scotland, with its Arnish yard under particular strain due the ending of renewables contracts.
Until recently, BiFab had been working on significant contracts in the outer Moray Firth and a multi-million agreement with the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm.
Speaking on Thursday, Keith Brown said:”We have a shared aim of solving the BiFab issue as soon as possible.”
“This is an anxious time for the workers at BiFab and their families. They have continued throughout this time to show great resilience and a commitment to fulfilling the contracts in place, in spite of what they have been facing.
“I will remain in regular contact with the unions and the company, while together we work tirelessly to offer support for those workers and try to identify a long-term resolution.”
GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith added: “We believe the Scottish Government shares these priorities and they are doing all they can to deliver this objective, as they have done since November.
“We are now at a crucial moment and we have stressed to ministers the anxieties of our members and their families.
“Time is of the essence but I would say this to our members: Everyone is doing everything in their power to secure your futures.”