NEWS
26/12/2018 08:58 GMT

Community Steps In To Raise Thousands For Workers Laid Off On Christmas Eve

Some 310 Kaiam workers lost their jobs and were left without Christmas wages.

Thousands of pounds have been raised for workers at a computer factory who lost their jobs on Christmas Eve.

A local community rallied round to crowdfund £17,000 by Boxing Day morning for more than 300 employees at the Kaiam plant in Livingston, West Lothian, who were laid off without being paid Christmas wages.

It comes after those who were laid off were told they would not be paid and would have to claim their last wages through the government’s Insolvency Service.

The appeal, set up by local community centre worker Mhairi Duff, exceeded its £10,000 target by 6pm on Christmas day.

“It started after a group of women from all walks of life and backgrounds, who had never met each other, decided to get together and help those who lost their jobs get through the next few weeks, not just Christmas,” she told the BBC.

“We have been overwhelmed with the support that has been shown from the community.”

The local bowling club stepped in to provide a £4,000 loan which will be repaid once the crowdfunding efforts reach the workers affected.

But the efforts didn’t stop there, as benevolent members of the community donated toys and vouchers at a local centre.

Emma Black, whose stepdad works for Kaiam, set up a Facebook group to provide support to those made redundant.

Just 28 employees were kept on to help with the selling of the business, after administrator KPMG said they had no choice but to lay off the hundreds of workers.

They told the staff the redundancies were due to declining work levels, high operational costs and lack of customer orders at the factory, which manufactures optical receivers.

The firm added they are working with Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and West Lothian Council to ensure that “a full range of support is available” to those affected.

Scottish Labour has called for an inquiry into government grants to companies such as Kaiam Europe and Kaiam UK, while Scotland’s business minister Jamie Hepburn says his department will work with administrators “to explore all possibilities to rescue jobs”.