Upset as factory for disabled workers will close next week

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DISABLED workers are fulfilling their last few days of duty as their factory will close next week.

The Remploy factory, in Lamberhead Green Industrial Estate, will shut its doors on Thursday, August 16, forcing 38 members of staff out of work,

This is the first wave of closures, as last month, the government announced that 27 of its 54 factories will close by the end of the year, creating 1,700 job losses among disabled workers.

A further nine factories face an uncertain future and the remaining 18 sites are due to close or be sold-off next year.

Remploy employees in Wigan, who scan items for the NHS and tackle a number of other skills, such as sewing, held two 24-hour strikes in a bid to force a government rethink, but to no avail.

Brian Davies, GMB union spokesman for Wigan said: “It is upsetting and the fact we are losing our jobs is hitting home.

“We only have seven days left at work.

“It is so frustrating. People know they are never going to get another job, as any employers taking on new staff will employ able-bodied people

“There will be a redundancy package, but it is not as good as the voluntary redundancy last year, where workers were £5,000 better off.

“Workers could have taken that last year, but they showed loyalty and stayed on.

“It is terrible – just heartbreaking.”

Meanwhile, Remploy workers that transfer to a private employer will not receive the same level of pension as they currently enjoy, following the Department of Work and Pensions’ ruling that any company taking over a Remploy business won’t have to honour the Fair Deal pension’s legislation which ensures that a pension of similar value has to be provided.

Mr Davies confirmed that as no workers were being transferred, it did not affect them.

But a spokesman for DWP said it had yet to confirm the decision.

He said: “The government has promised that if Remploy leaves government control at the end of the process the accrued benefits of members of the scheme will be fully protected.

“Our priority throughout Remploy’s commercial process has always been to safeguard as many jobs as possible. “Whilst using the £320m protected specialist employment support budget, we have to get more of the UK’s 6.9m disabled people of working age into mainstream employment - something that we know they want.”