Workers at the Dundee plant of a troubled clinical waste firm are facing redundancy after bosses announced the company has ceased trading.
Healthcare Environmental Services (HES), which is responsible for disposing of clinical waste from every hospital, GP surgery, dental practice and pharmacy in Scotland, broke the news to hundreds of staff on Thursday morning.
However, workers in Dundee were left angrily awaiting confirmation after bosses reportedly scheduled a meeting for hours after colleagues in North Lanarkshire received their redundancy notices, and then scrapped it at the last minute.
The company became embroiled in a clinical waste stockpiling controversy earlier this year and was set to lose its NHS Scotland contract in April, after being stripped of 17 contracts with NHS trusts in England.
Almost 400 people are employed by the company across the UK but eight permanent staff members and a number of “casual workers” in Dundee will have to wait until Friday morning to meet with company bosses and officially learn their fate.
One employee, who asked not to be named, said: “We were originally supposed to be going in for a meeting at 4pm with the plant manager but that’s been cancelled now until 11am on Friday.
“I changed my plans to go in so it’s pretty frustrating given we already know what’s going on at other depots. There’s a lot of anger about how everything has been handled.
“One of my friends based in Dundee was still out working last week, collecting waste from care homes and hoping this was all going to be sorted out.”
A letter from HES managing director Garry Pettigrew said a shortage of incinerators led to the backlog problem and blamed “unfair Government pressure” on the business for the redundancy notices.
Mr Pettigrew claimed a bank had withheld funds “due to pressure from political and market perception of our company”.
He added: “As a company, we have been exploring all avenues, both politically and commercially, through enterprise schemes and sales of parts and the whole of the business to try to secure the future of the employees and the company.
“We have been given no assistance at any time, from the politicians or enterprise bodies in England or Scotland, we have been unable to resolve matters, and accordingly the company will cease trading on December 27, 2018.”
In November, HES announced it would sue NHS organisations which had terminated their contracts.
The Environment Agency previously said the firm was found to be in breach of permits at four of its six sites in England which deal with clinical waste, and a criminal investigation was subsequently launched.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency also confirmed it had issued enforcement notices at sites in Dundee and Shotts.
In the redundancy letter, HES said it was unable to make payments but directed staff to the Redundancy Payment Service to claim money owed.
HES was approached for comment.