Government aims to alter funding plan

Remploy workers during a campaign rally against proposed factory closures.
Remploy workers during a campaign rally against proposed factory closures.

DISABLED workers have voted to go on strike after Remploy factories including Chesterfield’s site were earmarked for closure.

Remploy - which provides work for disabled people - aims to sell 36 of its 54 factories after the Government decided to reduce funding and re-focus on helping those with disabilities move into mainstream employment.

But members of the GMB and Unite unions at Remploy sites across the UK aim to walk out on Thursday, July 19, and Thursday, July 26.

Phil Davies, GMB National Secretary, said: “These closures are going ahead without any consideration of the feelings and needs of these workers and their families or their future job prospects.

“To close a factory that employs disabled people in the present economic climate is a sentence to a life of unemployment and poverty.”

The workers voted in favour of industrial action as part of a campaign to prevent closures at any of its 54 factories including the Chesterfield Remploy, on Sheffield Road, at Whittington Moor.

Remploy factories were established 66 years ago as part of the welfare state and workers were employed in enterprises from packaging, manufacturing and recycling.

A total of 79.5 per cent of GMB members voted in favour of taking industrial action after it has been estimated that widespread closures would leave about 1,700 out of work.

A Remploy spokesman said: “Remploy is disappointed that the GMB and Unite are threatening to take industrial action.

“The company continues to consider proposals put forward by the unions as part of the consultation on the proposed closure or transfer into new ownership of the 36 factories announced in March. Strike action will do nothing to secure the future jobs of Remploy staff.

“We are concerned industrial action could deter future buyers and existing customers as Remploy continues to explore future prospects for the 36 factories and the possibility of some moving into new ownership.”