Remploy workers begin strikes
Workers at Remploy factories in Chesterfield and Springburn have begun a five-day strike in protest of other factory closures.
GMB union claim potential buyers of the remaining Remploy sites may want to make redundancies based on an individual’s disability.
In a statement, Remploy said strike action will not help to secure any jobs as it looks for bids for factories which it believes could form a sustainable business outside government ownership.
During August, 24 Remploy factories have closed, and a further three are expected to close later this year.
Phil Davies, GMB National Secretary, said: “Members at Remploy Chesterfield and Springburn are concerned that no information about three potential buyers has been given to them. The DWP has removed the obligation for a new employer to provide a pension.
“We understand that all three potential buyers may want to make redundancies based on the individual disability.
“Two weeks ago 24 factory sites were closed and senior management stayed away from all these sites. Not a single person was personally thanked for their work and some of these people had worked at Remploy for over 30 years. Factory Managers who had worked hard to develop the abilities left in tears.
“The Olympics brought a bright light to the UK and the Paralympics are underway where all disabled people can celebrate but Thursday 16th August a dark cloud descended on 25 Remploy factory sites and in all the other sites a cold veil of tears fell across Remploy factory sites. The commitment and hard work of the Remploy Employees will never be forgotten.”
Kevin Hepworth, Unite Chair of Remploy Consortium of Trade Unions, said: “Thursday and Friday 16th and 17th August were the worst days of this government’s life. To attack the most vulnerable in our society and throw them on the scrap heap is an act against disabled people.
“There has been no thought about this. Iain Duncan Smith has avoided meeting the Trade Unions. This shows the massive divide between those in power and those who cannot defend themselves.”
The remploy statement said: “As part of their examination of the business performance, prospective bidders are encouraged to engage with the trade unions and employees. Indeed, bidders are interested in acquiring sites because they value the skills of the workforce.
“The Company hopes to be in a position next month to announce a decision on any bids it has received. Until then the process continues and strike action will do nothing to secure the future jobs of Remploy employees.
“We understand that this is a difficult time for employees but it is important to understand that the Commercial Process has been put in place to secure as many jobs for employees as possible
“Strike action will not help us do that, nor will it help employees who will not be paid for the days when they take part in strike action.”
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .
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