Christmas wages not paid at West Lothian computer firm

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Kaiam Corporation
Image caption,
About 300 people work at the Kaiam plant in Livingston

Hundreds of workers at a West Lothian computer factory face an uncertain future after being told they would not receive their Christmas wages.

Staff at optical manufacturer Kaiam were informed on Thursday they had not been paid because of cash flow problems.

Workers were also told to stay away from the Livingston plant until 3 January.

About 300 people work at Kaiam, which has its headquarters in the US.

'Wasn't enough money'

Kaiam worker Joanne Baxter said she was "absolutely gutted" at the news.

She added: "It is bad enough any time of the year being in this situation but it is Christmas and people are relying on this wage to just start their Christmas shopping today.

"There's people in there with just one breadwinner in the family, they've got kids and they've not even got a selection box for them - I mean how devastating can it be?"

Image caption,
Kaiam worker Joanne Baxter said people at the plant were relying on their wages for Christmas

Another employee, who was at Thursday's staff meeting but asked not to be named, said: "We were all called in to 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."

'Unanswered questions'

Kaiam, which is based in California, manufactures parts used for high speed data transfer between multiple servers at data centres.

In 2014 the firm was given a £850,000 Scottish Enterprise grant to relocate some of its production from a site in China to Livingston.

The leader of West Lothian Council, Lawrence Fitzpatrick, said he was seeking clarification from the company about its immediate plans for the plant.

He added: "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."

A spokeswoman for Scottish Enterprise said they were working closely with the company, West Lothian Council and Skills Development Scotland to achieve the "best possible outcome".