Kaiam workers burst into tears when told on Christmas Eve they will lose jobs

Dad-of-two and production operator Kevin Wells (pictured), 27, told of emotional scenes at today's talks at the Livingston factory with administrators.
Dad-of-two and production operator Kevin Wells (pictured), 27, told of emotional scenes at today's talks at the Livingston factory with administrators.
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WORKERS at crisis firm Kaiam burst into tears as they were told on Christmas Eve most of them will lose jobs.

READ MORE: Over 300 Kaiam staff lose their jobs on Christmas Eve

Cole Cowan aged 9 with his mum, Louise Partridge. Cole donated �160 of his savings to the appeal.  Picture: Neil Hanna

Cole Cowan aged 9 with his mum, Louise Partridge. Cole donated �160 of his savings to the appeal. Picture: Neil Hanna


Around 300 workers who manufacture optical receivers for the Livingston firm held crunch talks on Monday with 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.

READ MORE: Kaiam boss accused of “unspeakable cowardice” as Livingston workers not paid Christmas wage


Dad-of-two and production operator Kevin Wells, 27, told of emotional scenes at today’s talks at the Livingston factory with administrators.

Livingston Station Community Centre  organiser Joanne Baxter flanked by Fiona Hyslop (left),  Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs and local MP Hannah Bardell  (right). Picture: Neil Hanna

Livingston Station Community Centre organiser Joanne Baxter flanked by Fiona Hyslop (left), Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs and local MP Hannah Bardell (right). Picture: Neil Hanna

READ MORE: Kaiam boss dances at Xmas party before jetting off to US as firm fails

“They said they’d been in over the weekend trying to sort out the finances but going forwards they couldn’t pay the wages,” said Mr Wells.

“There were a lot of tears from members of staff. People were asking a lot of questions, like ‘my wife’s pregnant, how do I go about getting redundancy?’

“People don’t know what the next stages are. They were told they’d get help finding jobs and what jobs there are in West Lothian. We were told it’ll be four to six weeks before we get money from the government.”

The local community rallied to set up a donation centre in the Livingston Station Community Centre. Picture: Neil Hanna

The local community rallied to set up a donation centre in the Livingston Station Community Centre. Picture: Neil Hanna

But there were also scenes of solidarity between colleagues, including management, said Mr Wells.

“There was a guy there, Gordon Elliot, who was second in command and he had tears in his eyes and was shaking people’s hands as they left.

“He said he’d wish there was more he could’ve done, that if he could do anything to get in touch and he’d try and get us all new jobs.

“He was in the trenches with us. He should be commended for the work he did without getting paid. He didn’t run off, he stayed.”

Mr Wells was back at a community hub set up to help Kaiam staff this afternoon with children Harry, three, and one-year-old Gracie.

“We’re trying our best to help each other,” said Mr Wells. “That’s been the real positive of all this.”

A crowdfunder for the staff of Kaiam has been set up to support employees. Donations can be made here.

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