A HANDFUL of jobs have been saved at a factory staffed by disabled workers which was forced to close over the summer.
Former Remploy bosses have re-opened the Lamberhead Green Industrial Estate plant as Redrock Document Processing Services, which scans paperwork.
The firm, a subsidiary of Celaton, has acquired Remploy’s scanning operations, and as a result, has taken on 14 former Remploy workers plus four other disabled members of staff,
All previous employees who worked in the NHS scanning department of Remploy have got their jobs back, but the remaining 24 staff who had other roles have not been reinstated.
Phil Hubbard, who set up Redrock with fellow Remploy workers David Liddle and Adrian Edgington, said: “When the factories closed around the UK we got all the assets, such as machinery, and reopened the Wigan site last month, leasing it from Remploy.
“We chose to re-open Wigan’s factory as I used to run a business for Remploy - Office Fulfilment - and I was general manager of scanning and Wigan did a good job of that side.
“We had a fairly good idea that most employees would not get a job, so we thought we could help them out. It was the right thing to do for our people.
“We are extremely proud of what we have done.
“It has been difficult to get to where we are. We have got some orders to keep our people going for the next seven or eight months and hopefully we will get some more work.
“We need the public sector to get behind us, as more than 50 per cent of our workforce are disabled and there is a facility for them to deal with supported businesses.
“It is a shame not all jobs could have been saved, but not all Wigan’s Remploy staff were working in scanning and did not have the skills.
“Our plan is to expand and hopefully we can get between 80 and 100 disabled people working for us.”
Brian Davies, former Remploy worker and member of GMB Union, said: “They have taken on work which we were already doing.
“I am glad for the people who have now got jobs, but they should have taken on more staff - around 40 people were made redundant.
“The ones who will find it hard to find another job are those that have missed out.”
Earlier this year, the government announced that 27 of its 54 factories were to close by the end of the year, creating 1,700 job losses among disabled workers.
Wigan’s site, which scanned items for the NHS, closed in August, meaning the loss of 38 jobs.