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Minister welcomes progress after intensive BiFab talks 

The latest round of discussions were chaired by the First Minister and will resume on Saturday.

Protest: BiFab workers march along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.
Protest: BiFab workers march along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. STV

Progress has been made in a bid to secure the future of a troubled offshore manufacturing firm after a day of intensive talks, according to Economy Secretary Keith Brown.

Mr Brown welcomed the latest discussions, which were chaired by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and confirmed negotiations will resume on Saturday morning.

Burntisland Fabrications Ltd (BiFab 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.

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

'We are very much aware that this will be an anxious time for the people employed at BiFab, as well as their families and the wider communities of Burntisland, Methil and Arnish and Ministers will continue to do all we can to secure a positive resolution.'
Keith Brown

Today's talks were chaired by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who returned early from a UN climate change conference to take part.

Afterwards, Mr Brown said: "Progress has been made and discussions will resume in the morning."

As well as Seaway Heavy Lifting, SSE, Siemens and the partners in the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm the Scottish Government are also maintaining a dialogue with trade unions.

Mr Brown added: "Ministers will continue talks for as long as necessary to avert the risk of administration at BiFab.

"We are very much aware that this will be an anxious time for the people employed at BiFab, as well as their families and the wider communities of Burntisland, Methil and Arnish and Ministers will continue to do all we can to secure a positive resolution.

"We hope to be able to provide more clarity on the situation in the near future."

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

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