Socialist Party
| Print

22 November 2017

Scotland: BiFab workers' occupation and march secures jobs and pay guarantee

Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland

Workers at the three threatened Burntisland Fabrications - BiFab - yards in Fife have won a guarantee that their jobs and wages will be secured, at least until April 2018. Action by workers and the GMB and Unite trade unions has delivered this important breakthrough.

On 12 November, the company said it had no money to pay wages and was giving notice that it intended to enter administration. The jobs of 1,400 workers who either work for BiFab or who rely on the company for work via contractors were hanging by a thread.

At mass meetings on 13 November workers agreed a 'work-in' in order to complete the contract - without being paid - but also to ensure they occupied the sites to prevent any attempts at asset-stripping.

As Gary Smith, Scottish secretary of the GMB, told a rally outside the Scottish parliament: "If you had not occupied those yards then your jobs would have gone and the yards shut."

The occupying of the yards, beginning a 'work-in' and a mass march on 16 November to the Scottish parliament to demand government action has paid off.

The major companies involved in the project have agreed to provide BiFab with money that will allow the work to continue and workers to be paid.

The threat of BiFab entering into administration, management claimed, was due to money going unpaid to them by the Dutch company Seeway Heavy Lifting (SHL). SHL is contracted by the Scottish power giant SSE whose Beatrice Windfarm Project the BiFab workers are employed in.

As a result of the action of the workforce, the Scottish government and the main companies involved agreed an arrangement that would ensure wages were paid and the jobs guaranteed until the end of the project. The fact that the completed wind turbine platforms would not be released by the workers would have been an important factor in SHL and SSE agreeing to a deal.

However, as Socialist Party Scotland has called for, only an opening of the books of all parties involved in this project for inspection by the trade unions would get to the bottom of what was really going on. The unions should demand full access to this information to get a real picture of what is happening to BiFab.

1,000 workers, their families and trade union supporters marched to the Holyrood parliament building to demand action. More than 600 workers walked off the job to travel to Edinburgh for the demonstration. However, dozens of workers stayed behind to blockade the gates of the yards to ensure none of the completed work could be moved.

The GMB convener for BiFab, Mike Sullivan, called on the Scottish government to take the plants under their control and to ensure wages were paid.

Socialist Party Scotland members distributed hundreds of leaflets to workers in support of the struggle and calling for the books of BiFab, SHL and SSE to be opened to trade union inspection.

As is normal in these big projects, a labyrinth of contractors and sub-contractors are used by big business to lower costs and increase profit.

That's why Socialist Party Scotland calls for the nationalisation of the major energy and construction firms to guarantee full rights and the rate for the job across the industry.

With renewables, oil decommissioning and waste to energy projects increasingly important for jobs, public ownership and democratic control by workers and the government is essential.

While this victory for the workers at BiFab is welcome, the future of the company is still uncertain after April 2018. The jobs and the yards could be secured with a programme of massive investment into the renewable industry and public sector control of the energy and fabrication industry. BiFab should be brought into public ownership by the Scottish government to secure the skills and jobs there.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26514




Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

triangle18 Apr Local paper reveals Labour candidate 'tried to defect to the Tories'

triangle18 Apr For a fighting, democratic Labour Party

triangle18 Apr Labour councillors could stop unsafe 'driver-only operation' tomorrow

triangle13 Apr No to the bombing of Syria!

triangle11 Apr Taking the anti-austerity message to the chancellor's back yard

triangle11 Apr Teachers vote to ballot over pay and workload

triangle10 Apr No to bombing Syria

More ...

WHAT'S ON

triangle23 Apr Leeds Socialist Party: Lessons from Liverpool City Council 1983-7

triangle26 Apr Southampton TUSC: Local election rally

triangle26 Apr Leeds TUSC: How can we stop NHS cuts & privatisation?

triangle28 Apr Leeds TUSC: How can we stop NHS cuts & privatisation?

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

What we Stand For

About the Socialist Party

Our 2015 election manifesto

Joining the Socialist Party - what will it mean for you

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999