More than 60 jobs axed at Lifescan facility in Inverness

More than 60 jobs are being axed at Lifescan Scotland’s Inverness facility – and most will work their last shift today.

A total of 61 employees at the largest private-sector employer in the Highlands will leave their jobs today, with another two roles to go at the end of the year.

The job cuts are part of a wider move that will involve shedding 350 positions across its global diabetes care business. The firm is owned by US healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) which announced a “strategic” review of its global diabetes care group companies in January.

The job losses follow a 90-day consultation with employees which sparked fears that up to 80 would be axed at Lifescan, which produces blood glucose monitoring systems.

But a spokesman for the company revealed last month that 28 new jobs will be created along with 50 additional temporary roles.

Some employees who were at risk have moved into these new roles.

Inverness MP Drew Hendry said: “I am reliably informed that Lifescan is trading well but if these reports are accurate then there is clearly a dramatic reorganisation under way, which must be unsettling for many employees and their families.

“I have already contacted Lifescan officials to ask for an update on the situation as it now seems quite unclear what is happening and how many people are affected.

“While the redundancy numbers look very concerning, overall job numbers seem set to go up in the short term. It is therefore vital that we get clarification from Lifescan themselves to understand how they see this developing and what the future holds for their valuable workforce.”

Highland Council’s leader Margaret Davidson said she was saddened by the news and feels “uncertain” about the future of jobs at Lifescan.

She added: “We are a long way from the big concentrations of work, so the jobs up here are precious.

“Lifescan is a very successful and socially aware business and I am really sorry to see any of their jobs going. I just want things to settle down because it’s a profitable business and I welcome it continuing. Until the future is clear I think all of us have to be concerned.”

Stewart Nicol, chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, is more optimistic and praised management for trying to retain as many staff as possible, adding: “At a personal level, I feel for the folk who are losing their jobs but the local economy is very vibrant and employment is very, very low and there are lots of opportunities.

“The health science sector is particularly strong in and around Inverness and there are lots of businesses around technical sectors that are quite regularly struggling for skilled, quality staff.”

Lifescan Scotland was contacted by the Press and Journal but declined to comment last night.