Unite Scotland today (8 September) slammed the South Korean owners of the CS Wind factory based in Machrihanish as the company entered into administration. The factory which employed approximately 130 people was the only UK facility manufacturing onshore and offshore wind towers. It was purchased by the South Korean company in April 2016.

Unite has repeatedly highlighted the depressing situation at the wind turbine factory which has been effectively mothballed by its owners since November 2019. Highlands and Islands Enterprise had also taken out an injunction against the company which blocked the removal of equipment over fears of asset stripping. CS Wind had benefitted from enterprise grants totalling £3 million.

Unite has been at the forefront of campaigning for Scottish facilities and factories to benefit from the ‘green manufacturing revolution’. The union has heavily criticised the Scottish and UK governments over the minimal manufacturing work which has been directly created by the billions of pounds being invested into the renewables sector in Scotland.

The Scottish government in 2010 claimed that developing a low-carbon economy would create up to 28,000 direct jobs in the offshore wind sector, and a ‘further 20,000 jobs in related industries’ by 2020 (1). The Office for National Statistics published data in March, estimating that full-time equivalent direct employment in the offshore wind sector in Scotland for 2019 was 1,400 jobs. The onshore wind data estimated 1,900 jobs created for 2019, down from an estimated 3,600 jobs in 2016 (2).

Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish secretary, said: “Unite has repeatedly warned of the disgraceful situation developing at the hands of the South Korean owners who have a track record for taking millions in public funds only to run a factory into the ground. The Scottish government has sat back and watched from the sidelines offering absolutely nothing. It's high time they accept that on their watch, for over a decade now, there has been minimal green and low-carbon manufacturing jobs directly created in Scotland. There is no jobs revolution - it’s a myth. The Scottish government’s projection of nearly 50,000 jobs by 2020 comes crashing against the stark reality that for both the onshore and offshore wind sectors only 3,300 jobs were estimated to have been created by 2019. It’s a pathetic return on the billions of pounds being poured into and around Scotland's shores. It's a national scandal."


Notes to editors:

  1. A Low Carbon Economic Strategy for Scotland (Page 47) published in 2010 
  2. ONS: Low carbon and renewable energy economy estimates 
  • Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.