Scotland business

Jobs threat at Machrihanish wind turbine plant

Wind Towers Scotland worker Image copyright Wind Towers Scotland
Image caption CS Wind Energy acquired the Machrihanish factory from Wind Towers Scotland

More than a third of the workforce at a wind energy firm in Argyll and Bute have been told their jobs are under threat.

CS Wind informed workers that up to 60 jobs could be lost at the factory in Machrihanish due to lack of orders.

The South Korean company took over the site on the former RAF airbase less than a year ago.

It was unclear if the problems would affect plans to build a new factory for offshore wind equipment.

CS Wind was not immediately available for comment.

The company acquired the turbine infrastructure firm Wind Towers Scotland (WTS) last April, and promised to create new jobs at the rural site near Campbeltown. It currently employs about 150 staff.

Local councillor Rory Colville said he understood plans for a new factory to build offshore wind power equipment would still go ahead, with construction due to start in July.

He said: "There's no indication that has been put off. The firm is seeking assurances from the governments at Holyrood and Westminster that they are still committed to wind energy.

"It's really important for the local economy that we keep CS Wind going."

Enterprise Zone

Mr Colville said investment had been made in deep-water facilities to boost the wind energy sector, but he also called for the former airbase to be given Enterprise Zone status.

The site was sold to a community-led consortium for £1 in 2012 and is one of six sites in contention to become the UK's first space port.

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said market conditions were difficult for onshore wind energy firms but he also criticised the UK ministers for their "failure" to provide a viable 'route to market' for new projects.

He said: ""The announcement is disappointing news for the workforce at Machrihanish and the wider Campbeltown community and will be an extremely difficult time for those affected and their families.

"I understand from my own discussions with management that this is part of CS Wind UK's drive to improve the long term sustainability of the Machrihanish facility in the face of challenging market conditions."

Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell said he had spoken to both the company and the energy minister about the jobs threat.

He said: "I have been seeking assurances on the future of the staff who have been put on notice about possible job losses."

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