SCOTTISH jobs are “on the brink of being lost” as renewables contracts are awarded to overseas bidders, union leaders claim.

Holyrood’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee will today hear evidence from industry and union leaders after GMB and Unite urged MSPs to investigate the cost to the domestic engineering sector of losing windfarm work to foreign competitors.

Gary Smith of GMB Scotland and Unite’s Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty wrote to committee convener Gordon Lindhurst last month urging the cross-party panel to consider “the future of BiFab”.

The company, which was subject to a high-profile campaign to secure its operations in Fife and Lewis in 2017, was acquired by Canadian-owned DF Barnes in April last year.

However, it recently lost out on two contracts for work on offshore wind projects. These include the fabrication of five platforms for a Kincardine development, which went to Spanish state shipbuilders Navantia, and a deal to make 100 turbine jackets for the Moray East scheme.

That job was won by operators in Belgium and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In their letter, Smith and Rafferty say DF Barnes had “done everything possible” to win the work, but is not able to compete on a “level playing field”.

Calling on the committee to examine “commitments towards employment” from the renewables sector, which they said “has enjoyed so much support from taxpayers, bill payers, government and politicians of all stripes”, they told Lindhurst: “We remain deeply concerned that BiFab will only win a percentage of these contracts available if they reduce their costs by an unsustainable margin.

“The reality is that BiFab cannot solely compete on price costs in competition with an economy structured like that of the UAE.

“Billions of pounds worth of contracts and thousands of direct and indirect jobs are now on the brink of being lost to state sponsored companies and companies who hold an unfair commercial advantage or to economies which do not necessarily apply labour standards that we would recognise.”

BiFab director Bill Elkington and Nick Sharpe of green energy umbrella body Scottish Renewables are amongst those set to give evidence at today’s session.

National and regional enterprise bodies will also send representatives, as will technology and innovation centre ORE Catapult.

Rafferty will also appear alongside Smith’s GMB colleague Peter Welsh.

In the letter to Lindhurst, the unions called on the committee to consider the “potential commercial advantage” that state support could give Navantia over BiFab, and and “apparent commitment” made over construction work in the planning approval process for renewables projects.

The stated: “We are deeply concerned that the we are about to see a repeat of the failure to build an industrial supply-chain for offshore wind, just as was the case for onshore wind, and we believe that there is significant public interest in both exposing this and examining what could be done to turn the situation around.”