Second Remploy workers’ strike tomorrow

Published on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 12:49
Posted by Scott Buckler

Remploy workers will stage their second 24-hour strike tomorrow , as Iain Duncan Smith – the self-confessed 'quiet man' of British politics – remains silent as to their plight

The Remploy workers will build on last week's very successful strike which gained massive support in the continuing fight to save the UK's 54 Remploy factories from being closed or sold off by the coalition.

Unite, the largest union in the country, is expecting the vast majority of the factories to be out on strike tomorrow.

Unite criticised the silence of the work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith in failing to offer any help to the soon-to-be made redundant 1,700 Remploy workers – unlike the Welsh government which has pledged £2.4 million for employers who give jobs to Remploy workers when the factories in Wales close.

Unite's national officer for the not-for-profit sector Sally Kosky said: "Iain Duncan Smith may enjoy being the self-confessed quiet man of British politics – but he should be turning up the volume in support of these vulnerable workers, many with disabilities.

"Last week's strike was massively supported by the workforce, members of the public, trade unions and disability organisations – and we expect a similar strong turn-out tomorrow.

"The government needs to hear the very loud call that there needs to be a radical change of policy over the future of the Remploy factories."

Phil Davies, GMB national secretary, said: "When the first wave of factory closures happen by the end of the year, we will see about 1,700 disabled workers thrown onto the dole queue, at a time when those out of work for more than two years is at its worst rate since 1997."

Remploy workers have been greatly encouraged on by more than 8,500 individual messages of support.

Earlier this month, the government announced that the 27 factories will close by the end of the year throwing about 1,700 disabled workers out-of-work. A further nine factories face an uncertain future. The remaining 18 sites are due to close or be sold-off next year.

The workers voted to strike because they believe the proposed closure negotiations were 'a sham'; in protest at the intention to make disabled people compulsorily redundant for the first time at Remploy; and that the redundancy pay will be less than previous voluntary redundancies.

Unite and the GMB unions have been campaigning to keep the Remploy factories open as viable businesses and cite the recent upbeat assessment of Remploy's future prospects from Alan Hill, managing director, Remploy Enterprise Businesses who wrote that: "We have grown our sales by 12.2 per cent, a fantastic achievement."

Source: ©Unite

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