Disabled staff job threat

DISABLED workers are seeking advice on strike action following calls for voluntary redundancies at a Wigan factory.

Last month, bosses at Remploy, which employs 40 disabled workers at its site in Lamberhead Industrial Estate, Pemberton, announced it was calling for voluntary redundancies.

The move was blamed on reduced sales of its manufactured goods, which include furniture for schools.

Now employees, who are members of union GMB, are seeking authority from the GMB Central Executive Council (CEC), to conduct an official strike ballot over redundancies in the 54 sheltered workshops across the country.

The redundancies were rolled out across the company from January 31 – just seven days after the legal consultation period of 90 days commenced on January 24.

The union will also discuss the fact that following the closure of 29 Remploy factories in 2008 the vast majority of workers who were made redundant are still unemployed, with no prospects of finding work.

It will also look at an alternative plan, which would reverse the rise in the number of managers which had increased, despite the reduction in the number of factories and shop floor workers, aiming to cut £30m from costs while making Remploy viable.

Phil Davies, GMB national secretary said: “Not only is Remploy breaking their own agreements, it is definitely breaking the law. Remploy is sending letters on a weekly basis to the disabled employees, many of whom have learning difficulties and mental health issues, causing them extreme stress.

“The unions want to enter a real dialogue with the government to find a way ahead for a viable Remploy. There is little point in adding more disabled workers to the dole queues since we know that they are not going to get other jobs.

“It is high time that the UK Government put in place a realistic strategy to take advantage of the EU rules on procurement for disabled work shops.”

A spokesman from Remploy said: “We are disappointed that the GMB is proposing industrial action.”