A plea to reinstate Fife workers fired before lockdown has been made directly to their billionaire boss in Switzerland.
Five employees at the Scottish Deer Centre, part of Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill empire, were made redundant just days before the government announced its furlough scheme.
The company has refused to rehire them, which would allow 80% of their wages to be paid by the government.
North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie has written to Mr Day, who owns several other high street retailers including Peacocks and Jaegar, and urged him to step in and take the “moral decision” to furlough the Cupar staff instead of making them unemployed.
He said he had received an unsatisfactory response from the company’s HR department.
The Scottish Liberal Democrat leader said: “I have been appalled at the way that the Edinburgh Woollen Mill staff have been treated during this time.
“Given the government support available to the company to prevent just this kind of action, I am very disappointed that the company has sought to make employees in the Edinburgh Woollen Mill and the Cupar Deer Centre redundant when they could have been furloughed.
“I appreciate that employers are finding the current circumstances difficult, but most are willing and have been able to find ways to go above and beyond to help people in need.
“Philip Day is a billionaire businessman who owns a multitude of companies. His former employees are not billionaires but worked hard for him.”
The government scheme allows employees made redundant in the period before lockdown to be rehired and placed on furlough.
Mr Rennie said: “The redundancies could be reversed without costing Philip Day a single penny but he has refused to budge so far.”
The five workers were among 37 employed at the animal park, shop and café, most of whom are on furlough.
A firm spokesman previously said the redundancies had been made due to a downturn in business.
He said: “What we would have to do is rehire them to put them in furlough but in order to do that we would have to tell the government there is the potential for them to come back.
“We know those jobs aren’t going to come back.”
He declined to comment further.