Socialist Worker

Disabled workers fight closure plan

by Simon Basketter
Published Tue 17 Apr 2012
Issue No. 2299

The fight is on to stop the closure of factories employing more than 1,500 disabled workers.

Campaigners fear many of the staff will never work again if the Tories go ahead with plans to shut 36 of Remploy’s 54 factories.

The GMB and Unite unions are backing the workers.

The 54 Remploy factories across Britain employ more than 2800 workers.

Glen Holdom, GMB officer for Remploy, said, “We must show the strength of feeling that taking jobs from disabled people should not be tolerated in a civilised society.

“It will not improve the country’s financial situation—it may well make it worse.”

A GMB survey found that 90 percent of 2,000 Remploy workers who took redundancy in 2008 were not working a year later.

According to GMB national secretary Phil Davies, “These were the less disabled workers who thought they had a better chance of getting work than their less fortunate colleagues.

“The government thinks disabled workers will be absorbed into the mainstream but our survey is proof it is not going to work.

“Many of those who left are now taking their pension early at 55 when they could be working.

“No one will buy these factories. They will be asset stripped and left for redevelopment instead of keeping disabled people in jobs.

“It is an attack on the most vulnerable members of our society.”

One Remploy worker said, “Employers don’t look at you as people, they only see disability.”

Nova, a Remploy worker from Leeds, told Socialist Worker, “I’m angry and upset. I’ve worked here for 20 years.

“The Tories want to put disabled people on the scrapheap.”

  • About 35 people joined a Remploy protest organised by the GMB and Unite unions at Hay Hill in Norwich last Saturday.
  • Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was greeted with shouts of “shame on you” by a crowd of protesters in Wrexham last week.

    Over 40 people gathered outside Glyndwr University where Clegg was meeting party members and activists.

    He was driven to a back entrance to avoid the Remploy workers.


    Marches for Remploy

    Join the protests this Friday

    Sheffield march:

    Lobby the DWP in Sheffield. Assemble 12.30 for a 1pm start outside the Department for Work and Pensions office in Sheffield (Steel City House) at the junction of West St, Church St and Tripit Lane

    London march and rally:

    Assemble 12 noon Friday, 20th April 2012 outside the Department for Work and Pensions,Tothill Street, London, SW1H 9NA. March to Old Palace Yard, Westminster (opposite Parliament) for rally with speakers


Article information

News
Tue 17 Apr 2012, 17:51 BST
Issue No. 2299
Share this article



Tags



Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.