Thousands raised for workers laid off from Kaiam factory

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Kaiam Corporation office in LivingstonImage source, Kaiam
Image caption,
More than 300 people were laid off from the Kaiam factory just before Christmas

A crowdfunding appeal has raised thousands of pounds for workers who lost their jobs at a computer factory in West Lothian just before Christmas.

The initiative was organised as part of community efforts to support more than 300 people who were laid off from the Kaiam plant in Livingston.

They were made redundant without being paid wages expected before Christmas.

By 09:00 on Boxing Day, more than £17,000 had been raised on the crowdfunding site JustGiving.

The initial target had been set at £10,000.

The appeal was set up by Mhairi Duff, who works in a community centre in Livingston.

She told BBC Scotland: "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.

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

Image source, Mhairi Duff
Image caption,
Mhairi Duff said the support shown from the community had been overwhelming

The crowdfunding appeal read: "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."

Ms Duff said £4,000 had already been passed on to former Kaiam workers thanks to the support of a local bowling club, which provided a loan until cash from the appeal can be accessed.

The crowdfunding appeal will remain open for the time being, she added.

Community response

Meanwhile, local people and businesses made thousands of pounds worth of donations to help employees who missed out on their Christmas pay.

The community response was led by Emma Black, whose step-father is employed by Kaiam.

She set up a Facebook group appealing for help for those affected, and over the weekend thousands of donations, including toys and vouchers, were left a community centre in Livingston.

It is understood that any toys remaining will be offered to local community organisations, including charities.

Image source, Emma Black
Image caption,
Thousands of pounds worth of toys and vouchers have been donated by local people and businesses

Meanwhile, administrators from KPMG have said they were still hoping to find a buyer for the plant.

In a statement, the administrators said they had no option but to make 310 of the 338 employees redundant with immediate effect.

The remaining 28 employees have been kept on to help the administrators "explore a sale of the business."

They are also working alongside Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and West Lothian Council to ensure that "a full range of support is available" to affected workers.

The administrators are also liaising with the UK government "in relation to the timing of redundancy payments via the Insolvency Service".

Business minister Jamie Hepburn has pledged to write to the UK government to accelerate payments for workers from the usual four to six weeks.

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