Confusion reigns over ‘phantom’ Kaiam pay

Debbie Harkness helps at a community centre handling donated gifts for the Kaiam staff
Debbie Harkness helps at a community centre handling donated gifts for the Kaiam staff
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FORMER workers at collapsed Livingston firm Kaiam have been left baffled after some were apparently paid their December wages and others not.

It comes as an online fundraising page set-up for staff closed in on a revised target of £20,000 in just three days.

Bank accounts belonging to some ex-staff of the optical manufacturer were showing wages had gone through over Christmas.

“What a bizarre situation,” said Lothian Labour MSP Neil Findlay. “I think news that some people appear to have been paid and others not sums up the chaotic nature of this whole fiasco.

“Whilst it look like some people have been paid and, of course, that’s good news, it’s incumbent on the owner of this company to ensure all employees are paid the money that he owes them.”

Staff were told on Christmas Eve that 310 out of the plant’s 338 workers were being made redundant with immediate effect.

They had already been told they would not receive their December wage packets – brought forward to December 21 because of the holidays.

Yet some staff posted on social media that their salaries did appear to have gone into their bank accounts.

Bernadette Dolan posted on Facebook: “Hopeful for a Christmas miracle.”

Others suggested they were automated payments which showed online as a transaction but would not have any hard cash behind them.

Workers whose accounts show the payments having been received are now frantically trying to contact their bank to establish whether the money is actually there.

Meanwhile, colleagues with different banks will be checking their accounts today – the original December payday – in the hope they have been paid.

Father-of-two Kevin Wells, 27, was one of those checking his account today – but not holding out much hope.

“As far as I’m aware, we’re not getting it – Kaiam haven’t paid us,” Mr Wells told the Evening News.

A community hub set up to distribute donations to hard-up ex-staff and their families is now expected to run into the New Year.

And a Crowdfunding page launched by Mhairi Duff to raise £10,000 has doubled its target after standing at £19,230 yesterday..

“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,” said Ms Duff.

The Evening News reported how the troubled firm had been hit with a compulsory striking off order by Companies House on November 27. Two weeks later, it was placed into administration and the CEO, Bardia Pezeshki, jetted back to his family home in America.

Administrators were called in to try and find a buyer but then came the bombshell on Christmas Eve that 310 jobs had to go. Blair Nimmo, joint administrator and global head of insolvency at KPMG, said: “This is clearly very upsetting news for all of the staff, particularly at this time of year.”