A RENEWABLES energy firm in Argyll and Bute has announced it will cut up to three-quarters of its workforce, despite recording pre-tax profits of £7.1 million last year.

CS Wind, based near Campbeltown, said up to 73 jobs could be lost among its 94 employees. It is the only UK facility manufacturing onshore and offshore wind towers, with the factory bought over by the South Korea-based firm in 2016.

Scottish Greens said the development shows how the current energy market is broken and cannot protect jobs and tackle the climate emergency.

The party’s Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie said: “The UK Government left the renewables industry to the mercy of market forces and the result is an insecure supply chain which can impact communities.”

Union leaders have expressed concern over the development and called on the Scottish Government to intervene.

Unite has been at the forefront of campaigning for Scottish facilities and factories including the BiFab yards in Arnish and Fife to benefit from the “green manufacturing revolution”.

BiFab builds large-scale equipment for the offshore oil and gas industry, as well as platforms for offshore wind turbines and tidal generators.

It was rescued from the brink of administration by the Scottish Government in a £25m agreement in 2018 before being purchased by Canadian firm DF Barnes last April, although hundreds of jobs were shed.

The union has heavily criticised the Scottish and UK Governments on the “minimal manufacturing work” which has been directly created by the billions of pounds being invested into the renewables sector in Scotland

And in response to the latest blow, Unite is calling for the Scottish Government to immediately reconvene its Offshore Wind Summit and to provide support to the workforce. 

Charlie Macdonald, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “The news of the redundancy notices affecting three-quarters of the workforce at CS Wind in Campbeltown is a major blow to Scotland’s renewables manufacturing capacity. CS Wind is another example of the spaghetti bowl of multi-national interests calling the shots in our nation’s renewables sector with scant regard for workers and communities.

READ MORE: CS Wind: Dozens of jobs face axe at wind farm tower firm

“There needs to be urgent intervention by the Scottish Government because if the scale of these job losses goes unchallenged, not only is there a major cloud over the future of the factory in Campbeltown but also over Scotland’s green manufacturing capacity.”

Accounts lodged by the company in April show directors saw the outlook for the next financial year as “positive”. It posted pre-tax profits in 2018 of £7.1m – up from a loss of £191,000 in 2017.

The business has made a £27m investment in the facility since taking over, while also having deals with Danish firm Orsted and Swedish company Vattenfall.

It has blamed the move on challenging market conditions for onshore towers and difficulties with supply chain companies in the offshore sector.

The next potential order for the offshore build schedule is in 2020, it said.
A CS Wind spokeswoman said: “CS Wind UK is actively working with Unite the union, Argyll and Bute Council, Highland and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Engineering and the Westminster and Scottish governments on finding effective solutions and to support the workforce and wider local community impacted by this announcement.”
Scotland’s energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “This will be a very difficult time for those workers served redundancy notices at the CS Wind tower facility in Machrihanish.

“I have spoken with CS Wind UK management and committed to do all we can to support the company in their attempts to secure future work for the site.

“We have also been working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Argyll and Bute Council to support infrastructure investment in an effort to enhance the infrastructure of the site.”

Meanwhile, dozens of workers in Perthshire have been made redundant as a ventilation firm was placed into liquidation. MJ Ventilation was formed in 2006 and manufactured, installed and serviced systems for commercial and public-sector clients.

READ MORE: ‘Scotland must double spending on switch to renewable heating’ 

The Coupar Angus company had a turnover of £7m and employed 81 staff – all of whom have been made redundant as the business has ceased trading.
Blair Milne, business restructuring and insolvency partner with Campbell Dallas, has been appointed a provisional liquidator for the firm, which was “suffering from severe cash flow problems”.

“Significant bad debts” had also arisen from the recent insolvencies of Carillion and McGill Electrical.

Mr Milne said the company’s assets would now be marketed for sale.

“MJ Ventilation was a well-established and highly regarded specialist ventilation systems business with a high-quality client base across the public and commercial sectors,” he said.

“Despite the best efforts of the management team, the business had been suffering from unsustainable cash flow problems and the only option was to place the company in liquidation.

“We will now be marketing the company’s assets for sale, including plant and vehicles, and would encourage interested parties to contact our Glasgow office as soon as possible.”

He added: “A priority for Campbell Dallas will be to minimise the impact on the staff and hence our team will make immediate contact with the redundancy payments service and other agencies such as PACE in order that all claims and support services are progressed as quickly as possible.”