HUNDREDS of Scottish workers at a company helping to fight the coronavirus are waiting to learn of the extent of their pay cuts days after bosses announced the move.

Thermo Fisher Scientific says it is “at the heart of the global response to Covid-19” and is “working with government agencies and researchers to ensure priority access to instruments, consumables, safety supplies and other products to address the outbreak”.

It employs hundreds of people in Scotland, with sites in Perth and Inchinnan, near Glasgow Airport, where the plant operates 24 hours a day, five days a week to make components for the development of medicines.

Staff there have been identified as pandemic key workers by the UK Government.

The US giant has a global team of more than 75,000 people and an annual turnover of more than $25 billion.

But on Monday workers were told to expect a pay cut of at least 5%.

The news came in a webcast from senior management but staff at Inchinnan – who were yesterday warned not to speak to the media in an email to all employees – say they still do not know when the cut is coming or how deep it will be.

A whistleblower told The National: “We’ve heard absolutely nothing from management at the site. There are 900 people here and it’s all anyone is talking about.

“There’s been no leadership or assurance. It’s worrying because we don’t know if our bosses are trying to help us.

“I don’t understand why we at the bottom rung are having our pay cut. They didn’t say a maximum pay cut so we don’t know what to expect.”

The worker, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, continued: “We’ve got a lot of people off, we’re still expected to do overtime and meet deadlines and really work hard to pick up the slack.

“Our stocks aren’t doing badly, the company made $25 billion turnover last year. We put ourselves at risk by continuing to come to work and yet we are having to take a pay cut.

“Small orders for universities are off, but that’s such a small proportion of what we sell. We’re developing coronavirus test kits and we are providing all the stuff for cancer therapies and really important medicines. It’s high value.

“Before the announcement we were positive about getting on with it and contributing to the fight against the virus. Now it makes you want to drag your heels. It feels like we’re not valued.”

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The National asked Thermo Fisher Scientific about the extent of and reasons behind the pay cuts.

In response, the company released a holding statement which said: “Thermo Fisher Scientific has mobilised across the company to support the Covid-19 response with products and services that help analyse, diagnose and protect from the virus.

“That said, given the severe economic impact globally on many of our customers, we are taking appropriate measures to effectively manage our business through this unprecedented time.

“We thank our many talented employees at all levels of the company who are working to support this effort and we are taking all necessary precautions to ensure their health and safety.”

The £14 million Inchinnan plant was hailed as “a strategically important facility that will secure supplies for our target markets all over the world” at its expansion five years ago.

That followed support from national economic development agency Scottish Enterprise.

At the time, Mark Smedley, Thermo Fisher’s president of Europe, Middle East and Africa life sciences solutions, praised the “depth of experience, skills and expertise” amongst the workforce.

Products made there include cell culture media, a granular material used to grow cells and develop medicines.

Yesterday its director of operations David Rae moved to “remind all employees” not to speak to journalists amidst “increased media interest”.

Last night local MP Gavin Newlands said he was seeking answers from the company following an approach from a worried worker.

The National:

The Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP told The National: “It’s always disappointing to hear of any local employer reducing terms and conditions at any point in time.

“We have reached out to the company for information on their decision and whether it is a permanent change or a temporary one to reflect the current circumstances, but unfortunately have had no response as yet.

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