Labour Research August 2012

Equality news

Remploy workers strike against site closures

Unions have reacted angrily to the news that 27 Remploy factories that employ disabled workers are to be closed between August and December.

A further nine factories are to be subject to a further period of consultation regarding their future. In all, 2,800 disabled workers jobs are set to go.

As Labour Research went to press, the GMB and Unite general unions said strikes by Remploy workers will go ahead on 19 and 26 July as planned.

GMB national secretary Phil Davies said: “To close these factories that employ disabled people in the present economic climate is a sentence to a life of unemployment and poverty.”

He added that the strike would be a rallying point for each local community giving them the opportunity to stand behind the Remploy workers.

Meanwhile, Unite accused the government of showing a “callous disregard” for disabled workers.

Sally Kosky, Unite national officer for the not-for-profit sector, said: “Our members are desperate to work in an environment that takes account of their disability, where they can make a valued contribution to society and pay their way. They do not want to be thrown on the scrap heap and be relying on handouts.”

Unite and the GMB have been campaigning to keep the factories open as viable businesses, citing the recent upbeat assessment of Remploy’s future prospects from Alan Hill, managing director of Remploy Enterprise Businesses. He wrote that: “We have grown our sales by 12.2%, a fantastic achievement.”