Unions seek Arnish "transparency"

Trade unions have called for “transparency” before HIE decide whether to approve the transfer of the Arnish yard lease to Infrastrata, following their takeover of BiFab.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 8:49 am
HIE have been warned not to repeat the mistakes of the past, with concern emerging over the suitability of Infrastrata

Concerns grew following a meeting of union representatives from yards operated by Infrastrata under the Harland & Wolff name which heard reports of low pay rates and lack of negotiating procedures.

InfraStrata shares plunged 24 per cent in response to a share issue to raise £9million after its Methil yard – previously a part of BiFab – won an offshore wind contract. There has been some suggestion, not confirmed, of work going to Arnish.

“The company is on the cusp of a transformational change following the award of the Saipem contract,' said John Wood, chairman of InfraStrata, explaining why they had to raise cash.

Last month, InfraStrata announced an operating loss of £6.2 million in 2020, more than double the figure for the previous year.

Gary Smith, Scottish secretary of the GMB union, told the Gazette:

"There hasn’t been anything like the level of dialogue we would expect.

"We appreciate this is a start-up but they are now apparently offering jobs on reduced rates of pay and trying to cut wages. That’s deeply troubling.”

He said there should be “transparency” around diligence on the company currently being carried out on behalf of HIE.