LONG-SERVING workers at a plumbing suppliers in Johnstone have claimed they are being “unfairly” targeted for redundancy.

It is understood that McAlpine Plumbing plans to axe approximately 60 staff across its branches, with around a dozen jobs being cut at the Floors Street site.

One employee, who asked not to be identified, told The Gazette that a disproportionate number of older workers were being selected for redundancy at the Johnstone firm.

“Only three people who have been here for under two years are being let go, while the rest of us have been here for between 15 and 35 years,” said the worker.

“One of the selection criteria for redundancy is skill, so how can someone who has worked here for over 30 years not have more skills than someone who has been here for six months?

“We’ve been told the reason for the job cuts is because they don’t have enough room in the factory for us all to be two metres apart but they bought the recycling plant next door two years ago and haven’t explained why they can’t put some of us in there to meet social distancing requirements.”

The employee also claimed that staff at the Johnstone site who had protested against going into work at the start of the coronavirus lockdown in March had now either taken voluntary redundancy or been selected for compulsory redundancy.

Unite officials comfirmed that many employees across the firm had already accepted voluntary redundancy packages, with other workers currently challenging their redundancy selection scores.

David McGurk, regional industrial officer at Unite, said: “McAlpine’s workspaces in their factories are very close together, so they have been bringing workers back in phases during the lockdown, as well as introducing weekend shifts.

“I think McAlpine could have absolutely handled this better and should have waited until the furlough scheme ended before announcing these redundancies, especially with the announcement of the government’s new job support scheme.

“I think the company were too quick to make that call but they have told us that they’ve been losing orders since the lockdown, which is why they are making these redundancies.”

No-one at McAlpine was available for comment when contacted by The Gazette.