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BiFab: Ministers have 'laser-like focus' to save firm

Keith Brown says 'very serious progress' has been made to help the troubled manufacturer.

Scottish Government ministers have a "laser-like focus" to secure the future of a troubled offshore manufacturing firm.

Economy secretary Keith Brown said "very serious progress" has been made on achieving a successful resolution for Burntisland Fabrications Ltd (BiFab).

The firm has a workforce of 1400 employees, contractors and subcontractors at its yards in Burntisland and Methil in Fife and Arnish in Lewis.

The company, which makes equipment for the oil and gas industry and the renewable energy sector, filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators earlier as it faces cash flow problems linked to its contracts.

On Thursday, hundreds of BiFab workers marched on the Scottish Parliament to rally support for their cause.

At the centre of the issue is a dispute involving BiFab and the Dutch-owned contractor, Seaway Heavy Lifting (SHL) over a particular payment.

https://stv.tv/news/east-central/1402343-staff-at-threatened-offshore-firm-march-to-rally-support/ | default

Brown said discussions have been taking place every day this week, sometimes late into the night, to help make sure the 1400 jobs stay in Scotland.

Talks are continuing again on Friday, this time involving First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who returned early from a UN climate change conference to take part.

Brown told BBC Radio Scotland: "The most important thing we can do, which I think has been constructive so far, is to get the parties round the table.

"The parties weren't speaking, there wasn't the prospect of a resolution to this.

"We now have very serious progress being made towards a resolution of this and that's with the active involvement of the Scottish Government."

BiFab staff have voted to continue working until further notice despite the fact they may not get paid.

https://stv.tv/news/east-central/1402121-offshore-firm-staff-agree-to-work-without-pay-guarantee/ | default

Asked about the nature of the dispute, Brown told the Good Morning Scotland programme: "There's one particular payment which has not been paid and the two different parties to that payment - on the one hand BiFab on the other hand Seaway Heavy Lifting - have different views on the nature of that payment and when it should be made.

"What we're trying to do is bring the parties round the table.

"We've done that on a number of occasions this week, we'll be doing it again today with the active involvement of the First Minister, who's come back early to make sure that she is involved in this process."

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