More than £19,000 raised for Scotland factory staff made redundant on Christmas Eve

A total of 310 people were laid off at the Kaiam plant in Livingston, West Lothian

Wednesday 26 December 2018 17:18
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More than 300 employees have been made redundant from Kaiam's factory in Livingston, Scotland
More than 300 employees have been made redundant from Kaiam's factory in Livingston, Scotland

More than £19,000 has been raised for the Scottish factory employees who lost their jobs on Christmas Eve.

A total of 310 people were laid off at the Kaiam plant in Livingston, West Lothian, and were told by bosses that they were being made redundant.

They were also informed that they would not be paid and would have to claim any money they are owed through the Insolvency Service.

A crowdfunder was set up to help the families and has raised almost double its target of £10,000 in its first three days.

Mhairi Duff, who set up the fundraising page, wrote: "Employees of Kaiam have been left with no wages over the Christmas period.

"The community have come together amazingly to help ease Christmas a little but these employees still have bills to pay and families to feed.

"Every penny is hugely appreciated. Thank you."

Kaiam, who manufacture optical receivers for electronic devices, moved its production facilities from China to Livingston after being given an £850,000 Scottish Enterprise grant.

Administrators KPMG told the staff the redundancies were due to declining work levels, high operational costs, and lack of customer orders at the factory.

In a statement, they said they recognised redundancies at this time of year are particularly difficult and their main focus is ensuring support is available to those laid off.

The remaining 28 employees have been retained to help the joint administrators explore a sale of the business.

Labour's Neil Findlay has written to the convener of Holyrood's Economy, Energy and Fair Work committee, Gordon Lindhurst, calling for an inquiry into government support.

Mr Findlay wants the inquiry to examine how government grants, loans and other financial support are handed out, what conditions apply and whether or not this is a good use of public money.

He also wants the inquiry to discover how such money is recouped if the business awarded support fails to not fulfil its obligations relating to the initial award of the grant, and to look at how accountable companies and their directors are for the money given.

His letter says the actions of Kaiam are a "brutal blow to the individuals and families concerned and to the local economy".

Scottish business minister Jamie Hepburn said he is "very concerned" about Kaiam going into administration.

He said Scottish Enterprise has been working closely with the firm but "unfortunately, a solution could not be found to turn the company's situation around".

Mr Hepburn added: "Scottish Enterprise will work with the administrators to understand the potential options for the business going forward and explore all possibilities to rescue the jobs.

"The individuals affected by this announcement are our immediate priority and we recognise the important role they play in our economy.

"We will do everything within our power to help those affected."

Agencies contributed to this report

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