Remploy claims its new partnership with R Healthcare has helped its Chesterfield footwear factory secure an important contract with the NHS and provide employment and training.
Workers at the factory, at Whittington Moor, which is designed primarily to support disabled staff went on strike on Thursday over the feared privatisation of their factory with new able-bodied staff coming in with the new partnership.
Concerns have arisen after apprentices who are not disabled and have been taken on and staff claim shop floor workers have been given jobs with inferior terms and conditions.
A Remploy spokesman said: “The partnership with R Healthcare is good news as it has helped the Chesterfield factory secure an important contract with the NHS.
“It is also providing employment and training for three young people who are benefiting from a 12 month apprenticeship.”
Remploy explained its 12 month partnership with R Healthcare to supply specialised shoes to the NHS means three non-disabled apprentices, employed by R Healthcare, are working at the Chesterfield factory.
In addition, three R Healthcare staff are employed in customer service roles at the factory.
A GMB union spokesman said staff at the footwear factory were “outraged” and “worried” that different people could come in on different terms and conditions. Discussions with the trade unions are ongoing.
Remploy provides employment opportunities to support disabled people and those experiencing barriers to work.