Workers union Unite has reacted angrily to news that tower-maker CS wind plans to lay off three quarters of its workforce at its factory in Campbeltown, Scotland.
The job losses – as many as 73 of the 94 at what is the UK’s only facility manufacturing onshore and offshore wind towers – are being blamed on gaps in the orderbook.
But Unite points to accounts lodged by the company in April that suggest CS Wind directors see the future outlook for the next financial year as “positive”, with posted pre-tax profits in 2018 of £7.1m ($9.1m) up from a loss of £191,000 the year before.
“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,” said Unite regional industrial officer Charlie Macdonald.
“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.”
Macdonald said there needed to be “urgent intervention” by the Scottish government: “If the scale of these job losses goes unchallenged not only is there is a major cloud over the future of the factory in Campbeltown but also over Scotland’s green manufacturing capacity.”
The Campbeltown tower factory, which has been operating since January 2002, was bought by CS Wind in April 2016, with the South Korean company making a £27m investment in the facility at the time.
Danish developer Orsted also made a multi-million pound investment in the facility in December 2016, giving it preferred access rights to towers for its offshore wind farms, with CS Wind going on to sign a memorandum of understanding with Swedish utility Vattenfall for the opportunity to tender tower supply contracts on future onshore projects.
Unite has heavily criticised the Scottish and UK governments on the dearth of manufacturing work that have been directly generated by the billions of pounds currently being invested in the renewables sector in Scotland.