A SCOTTISH science and technology company has confirmed that "a small number" of employees are now facing redundancy.

The Irvine Times reports that around 13 workers at the Merck plant in the town will be affected - 11 full time and two temporary staff members.

The Irvine-based company said it was part of the "continued normalization of demand for the company’s products following unprecedented customer demand during the global Covid-19 pandemic".

And they pledged to offer help and support to the workers who faced redundancy.

But one of the workers affected revealed they had received just an hour's notice of the redundancy.

They said: "The site director sent out an email on Monday telling me I was being made redundant.

"I got a call from them saying I didn't have to come into work and that my job was no longer my job.

"They said they had to reduce the head count. Some of the older staff members who were nearing retirement offered to go instead, but the company said no.

"As far as I am aware, everyone affected has been there under two years, so they won't have to pay redundancy. It's been pretty ruthless."

The announcement follows a large recruitment drive last year, which saw Merck take on 64 new workers at the plant.

In March this year, the company said they planned to hire more people and continue their Learning Academy programme throughout 2023.

However, a spokesperson for Merck said today: "We can confirm there will be a workforce reduction at the site in Irvine, Scotland, effective July 31, 2023, with a small number of colleagues affected by this action.

"This action is due to the continued normalization of demand for the company’s products following unprecedented customer demand during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

"Merck will work with the employees affected to support their well-being during the journey to find alternative employment."

Merck, based in Heatherhouse Industrial Estate, is a 350-year-old company which comprises a team of specialists in healthcare, life science and electronics.

The company's Learning Academy takes on small groups with about 10 recruits training together over the six weeks.

It is also being used to retrain workers who were brought in during the pandemic.

Earlier this year, the company revealed a plan to boost its green credentials with a £250,000 roof mounted solar power project at Irvine factory.