THE “effective closure” of BiFab’s two yards has been announced in what unions have branded a “dark day” for the economy.

The marine engineering specialist was acquired by DF Barnes, a subsidiary of Canada’s JV Driver, in April in a deal many hoped would secure the future of the workforces in Methil and Arnish.

But yesterday unions said the “bright future” promised had been extinguished with the news that yet more lay-offs were confirmed.

GMB Scotland said just seven of the core 15-20 workers with the company had been offered part-time posts to oversee the security and maintenance of the yards and assets.

This is a major reduction from what once was a headcount of 400, with an additional 1000 contractors.

Meanwhile, it is understood that 12 senior managers from the original BiFab business will be “fully retained” as new business is sought.

Ritchie said: “We were promised a bright future by the new owners but the cold, hard truth is that these yards are now closed until new orders can be secured.

“There is also anger and resentment that some of the people responsible for the demise of BiFab have had their futures secured, while the workers who made the sacrifices to complete the Beatrice order have been steadily shown the door.

“‘Jam tomorrow’ is of no use to our members and their families. This is a dark day for Fife and Lewis, and for the Scottish economy. Whether there is any light in the weeks and months to come remains to be seen.”

The change came as redundancy notices issued to 35 of the remaining 43 workers in May expired.

Pat Rafferty, Scottish secretary of the Unite union, said: “Unite is disappointed that despite the fanfare last year following the takeover of BiFab by Canadian engineering firm DF Barnes that the decision to effectively close the yard has been taken.

“We all knew the future of the yards depended heavily on orders coming in and the failure to secure contracts would make the future difficult. We remain optimistic that the company will be successful in its tendering process for future contracts going forward.

“There is however some degree of irritation that those that must bear some responsibility for where the company is today are still in post, while the workforce has been cast aside.”

Meanwhile, Jason Fudge, the chief executive of DF Barnes said the company was “working tirelessly to secure new contracts”, stating: “That is what is needed for the employees and that is our focus.”

BiFab workers won massive public support in November when they marched through Edinburgh urging the Scottish Government to help save their jobs. A deal was hammered out after protracted negotiations and staff completed existing projects to prove their commitment and skill.

At the time, supporters argued that the loss of the company, a supplier to the renewables industry, would be a blow to the country’s green energy ambitions, as well as to local communities.

Yesterday Greens finance and economy spokesperson Patrick Harvie said: “The effective closure of the BiFab yards in Fife and Lewis is terrible news, especially for the workers there. It’s not in the renewable industry’s interests for BiFab to go down, so any last action that can be taken to secure jobs must be considered and Greens are ready to work with the Government and other parties in achieving this.”