Kaiam crisis: MP vows to get redundancy pay for workers

ALL former Kaiam workers will get redundancy pay owed to them, their MP has vowed, a month after the shock factory closure.

Monday, 21st January 2019, 9:01 am
Updated Monday, 21st January 2019, 9:03 am
Kaiam staff were told by administrators on Christmas Eve that 310 of the plant's 338 workers were being made redundant immediately.

Former staff of the Livingston optical manufacturer met this week to discuss suing their old employer over the collapse.

A fundraiser set up for those who lost their jobs has smashed through its £20,000 target.

SNP Livingston MP Hannah Bardell pledged: “Although many have received their redundancy pay I won’t rest until all have.”

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The firm’s staff were told by administrators on Christmas Eve that 310 out of the plant’s 338 workers were being made redundant with immediate effect.

“The plight of Kaiam employees galvanised the whole community of Livingston, West Lothian and beyond,” Ms Bardell said.

“Individuals, families, business, church groups and politicians of all parties did whatever they could to help and I was proud to be part of this collaborative effort.”

Ms Bardell and members of the West Lothian Women Facebook page set up a community hub for workers to get money, vouchers and gifts to see them through Christmas.

The MP also provided a letter for staff to take to their banks and other agencies to appeal for discretion when enforcing charges as they awaited funds.

All employees are now understood to have received their December wages.

They are also collectively going through the statutory process to gain their redundancy pay.

A jobs fair for former Kaiam employees took place in Bathgate on Thursday to support them in trying to get back into work.

Ms Bardell said: “I’ve heard many stories of staff getting employed in new roles very quickly, but some are still seeking employment.”

And on Wednesday, workers met to discuss joining together to seek a protective award of compensation from an employment tribunal.

Such claims can be awarded if an employer fails to keep staff informed and consulted on redundancies.

Labour’s Lothians MSP Neil Findlay asked ministers who knew of Kaiam’s problems back in November whether they requested bosses to tell workers.

The Scottish Parliament has meanwhile confirmed around 20 expressions of interest from prospective buyers for Kaiam.

An online fundraiser for staff is due to close tomorrow and has raised more than £23,000, having set a revised target of £20,000.

Instigator Mhairi Duff said: “We are delighted and overwhelmed with the amount of money raised.”