UNION leaders have called for redundancy laws to be strengthened saying over 300 workers from a paper-making firm received no consultation over their redundancies.

It came as staff from employee-owned Tullis Russell met in Glenrothes, Fife, with emotions running high over 325 surprise redundancies after the company went into administration.

Unite say the staff were "shamefully informed" that they had lost their jobs by the company early last Monday morning with phone calls and messages "without any consultation".

Staff are now demanding answers from directors who claimed only last month that jobs were 'safeguarded'.

Unite has also highlighted that the redundancies are the last straw for workers rights in Britain, who are among the easiest to fire in the European Union, and have called for the urgent strengthening of redundancy laws early in the next UK parliament.

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: "Time and again we see that workers in Britain are among the easiest to fire in the European Union and the 45 day consultation notice, cut from 90 days by the coalition government in the last parliament, is worthless.

"If company directors are not prepared to properly consult with their employees in a co-operative then what chance have workers across the rest of the country got?

"We will do everything we possibly can via the Scottish government's task force to secure a future for the Tullis Russell workers and the Markinch plant but employment law in the UK cannot continue like this.

"The law needs urgent change to better protect workers, communities and also the general public who usually end up footing the bill for companies who abandon their responsibilities."

Unite regional officer Dougie Maguire added: "This company was so suddenly plunged into administration and the workers want answers. The workers want answers.

"This is a heart-breaking situation where the workforce have turned out in their hundreds, shocked and victims of a hopeless employment law system.

"Today was also about ensuring our members get the best legal advice possible in the wake of this shock announcement but it's small crumbs of comfort because people want to be working, not dealing with this situation.

"Our immediate priority now is our involvement on the Scottish government task force and if there is any possibility that we can save these jobs - we will explore every option."

Tullis Russell, based at Markinch in Fife, called in administrators after experiencing a long-term decline in its market and cumulative losses of £18.5 million over the last five years.

The job losses at Tullis Russell comes less than two months after the official opening of a new £200 million combined heat and power (CHP) biomass plant on site, which energy minister Fergus Ewing and Tullis Russell Group chief executive Chris Parr said would "safeguard 500 jobs".

The plant, constructed and operated by one of Europe's leading renewables' operators, RWE, was financed, in part, with an £8.1m Regional Selective Assistance grant from the Scottish Government and Forestry Commission Scotland. It was designed to meet all of the paper maker's electricity and steam requirements.

The administrators declined to comment.