THE NEW WORKER

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 11th January 2019


Christmas in reverse

by New Worker correspondent

AT CHRISTMAS time Santa Claus is supposed to fly in to deliver presents for deserving recipients. Exactly the reverse happened at the Livingston computer optical components firm Kaiam, where Chief Executive Bardia Pezeshki flew in for a Christmas party just days before 300 of its 238 employees were made redundant. He left the local managers to break the news but denies any ill intent, saying he is still battling to save the company. This came on top of the news that their wages were at first to be delayed and then not paid at all. Instead of wages they got information packs on how to claim the dole.

In 2014 Kaiam was given a £850,000 Scottish Enterprise grant to relocate some of its production from a site in China to Livingston. They claim to have a £4 million order book.

Last year, it sold a plant in Newton Aycliffe in Durham, England, for $80 million, after purchasing it for $70 million a year before. One Livingston worker said: “We were led to believe it would secure our future. But they never spent a penny on the plant. Some machines are held together with sticky tape.”

Local MSP Neil findlay said he was “sickened and absolutely outraged” by the news. “You’ve got 300 families who have been shafted by their employer in the run up to Christmas. It’s absolutely outrageous what has gone on.” Pezeshki blamed Chinese competitors for slashing prices, claiming that Kaiam had trouble convincing large data centre customers that the relatively small business could meet their needs and that orders were unpredictable.

Administrators advised redundant employees that they will not receive their December 2018 salary and will have to claim this from the UK government’s insolvency service.

The SNP Business, fair work and skills minister Jamie Hepburn (who had long known of the company’s problems) stirred himself into the heroic action of writing to the UK government demanding it accelerate payments for workers from the usual four to six weeks.