Dozens of workers at a Fife laundry servicing firm are set to be laid off after managers confirmed their intention to close the company’s local base.
Around 70 staff at Elis’ site in Kirkcaldy’s Randolph Industrial Estate have been told their roles are now “at risk” of redundancy as part of plans to shut the facility and move all operations into the company’s recently-opened plant at Inchinnan in Glasgow.
The move comes less than a year after management assured workers the factory would remain open, amid suggestions it would close following a takeover.
A 30-day consultation period with staff was launched on Monday and collective meetings are expected to begin on Friday, during which more details about the plans are likely to emerge.
However, the outlook now looks bleak for the Kirkcaldy premises after the company said a “significant” contract loss – rumoured to be worth £1.6 million – had led to “considerable spare capacity” within its Inchinnan facility.
Jordan Finlayson-Green, north regional director for Elis, confirmed employees will be made redundant if the proposed closure of the Kirkcaldy site is given the go ahead, unless an alternative position can be found elsewhere in the company.
“This decision is not a reflection on the staff at Kirkcaldy who are hard working and loyal,” he added.
The laundry firm, which provides linens, workwear and equipment to hospitals, hotels, restaurants and the pharmaceutical industry, was previously called Berendsen but was taken over by French rival Elis in 2017.
USDAW area organiser Tony Sneddon said the union will enter into consultation talks and examine the business case for closure but said: “This is devastating news for the staff, particularly after we won the battle to reverse last year’s proposed closure of the site.
“Our priority is to save jobs and get the best deal possible for staff.
“In the meantime we are providing our members with the advice, support and representation they need at this difficult time.”
His comments were echoed by Kirkcaldy MP Lesley Laird.
“Given jobs were saved at the plant just a year ago, this is incredibly disappointing news and my thoughts are with staff and their families at this worrying time,” she said.
“There is, however, a crucial window of opportunity for Elis to secure new contracts and I sincerely hope their efforts will be successful.
“My office has been in touch with USDAW who have secured a pledge that Ellis will honour redundancy payments for staff who choose to leave now and the union is negotiating terms for staff wishing to consider redeployment to the company’s Inchinnan plant. I will continue to keep in contact with the trade union.
“In addition, the firm has engaged with PACE (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment) in Fife to ensure those who opt for voluntary redundancy are offered support to find alternative work.”