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Scotland-based broadband provider, Iomart, has been rocked by allegations that it is anti-union and operates its business like a "sweatshop".

It is also facing a number of tribunals following employee grievances.

A report in the West Highland Free Press cites an unnamed employee who gives an insight into working conditions at the operation. The source claims that employees are only allowed 15 minutes a day for "comfort breaks".

Anyone who exceeds this is monitored closely. And if workers are seen to be inactive, supervisors come over and "give you grief".

Commenting on the 50 redundancies announced earlier this month, the employee said that the workforce had been given just 10 days to decide whether to apply for voluntary redundancy. They were also not told of the details of the redundancy package.

A spokesman for Iomart refuted claims that it operated its business like a "sweatshop".

"We absolutely deny this," he told The Register. "We strive to be a progressive company."

The WHFP also reports that Iomart received a £700,000 grant from the Western Isles Enterprise on the understanding that it would create 120 jobs in the region by this year. There is some doubt whether this pledge can now be met.

No one from Western Isle Enterprise was available for comment by press time.

In a hard-hitting editorial the WHFP says: "All of that is currently looking pretty sick and sour. We have no wish to act as premature obituarists, but the pace and direction of events are not encouraging. Instead of 120 jobs in Stornoway, there may soon be 30. And instead of a high-tech showpiece of island enterprise, there is grim talk of "sweatshop" conditions."

It continued: "Iomart was established with the assistance of very substantial sums of public money. It enjoyed from the outset great publicity and immense goodwill. All of this is now in free-fall. Surely it is time for the directors of Iomart to look at themselves in the mirror and ask if they can justify their own conduct." ®

Related Story

Net malaise blamed for iomart lay-offs

Related Link

Iomart to shed jobs amid "sweatshop" accusations - WHFP

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