Uncertain future for factory workers as firm delays Christmas wages

Hundreds of staff at a manufacturer have been told the company does not have enough money to pay their wages.

Workers at the Kaiam computer components factory in Livingston, West Lothian, were told their pay has been delayed.

They were sent home from their workplace on Thursday and told not to return.

Politicians have criticised the treatment of the staff and the uncertainty created for the around 300 workers at the factory just days before Christmas.

One employee told BBC Scotland: “We were all called into a meeting and they read out a statement from the people who run the company saying there wasn’t enough money to pay the wages.

“The usual pay day is the 27th but it had been brought forward to the 21st for Christmas but now they say they don’t even know if it will be paid on the 27th, my rent is due in the next few days and I don’t know what I am going to do.”

The SNP’s Angela Constance, whose Almond Valley constituency covers Livingston, said: “I am extremely disappointed and angry that this company have abandoned their workforce in this way.

“They have walked away from their responsibilities and left many families desperate and desolate this Christmas.

“Today I have written to the Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work asking what the Scottish Government can do to pursue this company who are breaching workers’ rights and to see what assistance can be given to hard-pressed families at this time.

“This would be bad enough at any time of year let alone the holiday season, and it is disgraceful that workers are not being paid their due this Christmas.”

Labour’s Neil Findlay, MSP for Lothian, said he is “very concerned” for the Kaiam workers.

He added: “These are hundreds of hard-working people being left in the lurch before Christmas with no knowledge of what will happen with their jobs.

“I have been in touch with Scottish Enterprise and West Lothian Council, and will update constituents with more information when we have it.”

West Lothian Council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: “We are seeking clarification from the company with regards to what their immediate plans are for the plant in Livingston.

“However there is a lack of clear information and there are a number of unanswered questions.

“Clearly the situation is deeply concerning for Kaiam employees and their families. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

“We understand that staff have not been paid, as yet, this month. That is obviously devastating news, especially so at this time of year.

“We’re working with our partners including Scottish Enterprise and will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

The company announced in 2014 it had been given a £850,000 Scottish Enterprise grant to expand the Livingston site by moving production facilities there from China.

The firm’s headquarters are in California in the US and a senior staff member there said he is “not familiar” with the situation in the UK.

Company contacts in the UK did not respond to requests for comment.

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