Disabled workers to strike

Remploy employees pictured in Albert Square, Manchester
Remploy employees pictured in Albert Square, Manchester

DISABLED workers of a factory earmarked for closure are to go on strike in opposition of forced job losses.

Employees of Remploy, which has a site in Lamberhead Green, with 38 staff, have voted to down their tools on July 19 and 26 as an act of defiance over government plans to axe some of its factories, including the Wigan one.

Remploy bosses announced earlier this year that is had received government backing for the closure of 36 of its 54 UK plants, resulting in more than 1,700 jobs cuts.

Remploy workers, who are members of the Unite and GMB unions, voted by large margins to take industrial action because they believe the proposed closure negotiations were ‘a sham.’

The strike is also a protest against the intention to make disabled people compulsorily redundant for the first time and that the redundancy pay will be less than previous voluntary redundancies.

Brian Davies, GMB representative for Remploy in Wigan, said: “People are feeling pretty down at the moment.

“It has been a really bad time for them.

“A lot of the staff have severe learning difficulties and have bad nerves, so to put people through this is horrible.

“They can’t keep treating us like this.

“We are striking as we hope to get a better deal out of the cuts and to make the government listen to our proposals to save the factories.

“We know there have to be changes and we believe the structure is too top heavy.

“We need to make sure the money given to us is spent properly on the factories and getting work into there, but we have too many managers.”

Unions members at the factory, which manufactures furniture, also agreed a ban on overtime from July 12.

Unite’s national officer for the not-for-profit sector, Sally Kosky said: “This vote for strike action demonstrates our members’ disgust at the way they have been treated by the government’s policies which are designed to throw them on the dole queue at a very difficult economic time.

“Our members are desperate to work in an environment that takes account of their disability and where they can make a valued contribution to society.”

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.”