Hundreds of manufacturing plant jobs lost on Christmas Eve

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Hundreds of employees at a manufacturing plant in Livingston have lost their jobs the day before Christmas.

Around 300 workers at Kaiam, who manufacture optical receivers, were convened on Monday by joint administrators Blair Nimmo and Alistair McAlinden of KPMG.

They were told that, due to declining work levels, high costs of operation at the site and the absence of customers orders, there was “no option” but to make 310 of the 338 employees redundant with immediate effect.

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

The Scottish Government’s Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) programme, which responds to redundancy situations, has been mobilised.

It ensures that local public sector agencies respond to potential and proposed redundancies as quickly and effectively as possible.

Mr Nimmo said: “We fully recognise that redundancies at this time of year are particularly difficult.

“Our main focus during this challenging period is to work with all affected employees alongside Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and West Lothian Council to ensure that the full range of support is available to them.

“We are also liaising with the UK Government in relation to the timing of redundancy payments via the Insolvency Service.

“In the short term, we are exploring all available options for a sale of the business and would encourage any interested parties to contact us as soon as possible.”

Jamie Hepburn, Business, Fair Work and Skills Minister, said: “The employees affected by today’s announcement from Kaiam Livingston are our immediate priority and we will do everything in our power to help those affected by redundancy. It is an especially difficult time of the year for employees to learn such news.

“Scottish Enterprise has been working closely with Kaiam to explore all possible options to support the business and its staff, and I am disappointed that a solution could not be found to turn the company’s situation around.

“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.

“Our PACE team were present at the meeting and stand ready to offer their full support to staff to help them find alternative employment.

“By providing skills development and employability support, PACE aims to help those affected by redundancy to get back into work as quickly as possible.

“PACE has a strong track record in doing that, and I hope the affected staff can take at least some reassurance from that.

“The administrators have advised the redundant employees that they will not receive their December 2018 salary and will require to claim this, subject to statutory limits, from the Insolvency Service (which is part of the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy).

“I am concerned about the impact this will have on families, particularly at this time of year.

“KPMG will be making urgent representations to the Insolvency Service that they accelerate the payment process from their usual four to six weeks and I will write to the UK Government to encourage them to help with that request.”

Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay said: “This is a bitter blow for the workforce, who have been treated appallingly by bosses at Kaiam throughout this process.

“People being told they are losing their jobs on Christmas Eve is simply disgraceful.

“What matters now is that every effort is made to support the workers and their families, who have been failed so badly.”

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