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EXCLUSIVE: Covid test kit firm plans redundancies at Perth facility

Thermo Fisher Scientific Perth
Thermo Fisher Scientific workers making test tubes in Perth.

Hundreds of Perth workers are at risk of redundancy due to lower demand for Covid-19 tests.

Thermo Fisher Scientific has been producing millions of tubes used for sample collections every week.

Last October, the company announced a recruitment drive for 200 staff as it ramped up production.

The firm also embarked on an extension of its Auld Bond Road facility.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Perth
Thermo Fisher Scientific, Auld Bond Road, Perth.

An update in January said it was looking to add 400 staff, with 300 positions filled.

However a spokesperson for the company today said it was “realigning” its output to meet UK requirements.

More than 200 jobs under threat

The firm plans to reduce the number of Perth employees “in response to evolving customer demands”.

A company source said up to 244 jobs could be lost. The rapid vaccine rollout has led to a reduction in demand for Covid test kits.

The spokesperson said: “Thermo Fisher Scientific routinely evaluates and adjusts our business capacity to best meet customer needs and societal demands.

Test tubes produced by Thermo Fisher Scientific in Perth.

“At our Perth site, we manufacture products that are critical to Covid-19 testing, specifically products that enable the transport of patient samples to laboratories.

“As we enter the next phase of our pandemic response, we are realigning our manufacturing output to meet customer requirements here in the UK.

“Thermo Fisher is proposing to reduce the number of employees at our Perth site in response to evolving customer demands.”

Consultation process starts

Between eight and 10 million test tubes were to be manufactured a week when at full capacity.

The tubes ensure samples collected from a Covid-19 nose swab maintains its viability when sent to a laboratory for processing.

In support of the site expansion, Perth and Kinross Council helped the project secure planning permission in record time.

Thermo Fisher Scientific, Perth

The extension saw the factory footprint increase by 39,000 sq ft over two levels to house manufacturing and warehousing equipment.

Consultations have begun with employee representatives at Perth.

The spokesperson added: “The company is doing everything possible to support our colleagues who may be affected by this proposal and is committed to treating them with the utmost dignity, respect and transparency.”

Many of the new recruits hired to boost production were trained at Perth Concert Hall.

The venue’s Covid-19 procedures were certified by the We’re Good To Go! industry standard, allowing it to host the global science firm.

In January Thermo Fisher Scientific had its own Covid outbreak at the Perth premises.

More than 20 staff tested positive causing part of the facility to close for a deep clean.

The Courier’s Covid-19 tracker is here.

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