Unions have urged Scottish Secretary Alister Jack MP to help create “desperately needed” jobs in the UK renewables sector by pushing Westminster to reform subsidy schemes for wind farms.
It comes after The Times reported BiFab was set to miss out on contracts for the £5.7 billion Seagreen project, off the east coast of Scotland, for a second time.
The report said work originally awarded to China was being reallocated to European yards by project operator SSE.
SSE denied a decision had been made, claiming the contract for the fabrication of the foundations was still being negotiated.
In a joint letter, co-signed by GMB Scotland’s Gary Smith and Unite Scotland’s Pat Rafferty, unions called for urgent reform of the UK Government’s Contracts for Difference (CfD) arrangements.
They lamented that billions of pounds in manufacturing contracts and thousands of potential manufacturing jobs to Scotland’s offshore wind sector were lost to international competitors in 2019, with firms in Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and Spain securing the bulk of work from the Moray East, Kincardine and Neart na Gaoithe projects.
The letter has also been copied to the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work & Culture, Fiona Hyslop MSP.
BiFab, which has two yards in Fife and one on Lewis, is owned by Canadian group DF Barnes, while the Scottish Government has a minority stake.
GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith said: “Any credible chance of a “green recovery” depends on urgent reform of the controversial Contracts for Difference scheme.
“Billions of pounds of bill payers money is being trousered by sovereign wealth funds, private equity vultures, Far East financiers and state-backed international competitors, taking the bulk of jobs abroad while Scotland’s struggling supply chain gets scraps from our own projects.
“The withdrawal of the Seagreen manufacturing contracts from China is a second chance for Scotland but instead of doing the right thing and giving the domestic economy some much needed hope, speculation is rising that SSE will award this work to yards across Northern Europe.
“An intervention is needed to end this scandal but Alister Jack has been missing in action. Rather than acting like an absentee landlord he needs to start making the case for CfD reform to help bring desperately needed jobs and investment into our renewables manufacturing supply chains.”