Remploy Workers Strike To Stop Factory Closures

19 Jul 2012

Workers at Remploy Leeds, Pontefract, Huddersfield, Sheffield and Chesterfield have taken part in the first of two 24-hour strikes over government plans to close 36 of the remaining 54 Remploy factories.  1,752 workers will be made compulsory redundant, 1,518 are disabled. Ever since Remploy was established in 1946 the company has been run for the benefit of disabled people but crucially has been managed by non disabled people.

Clive Warley, Olympic torchbearer and also disabled, was at the picket line in Leeds to support the striking workers, wearing his official tracksuit and carrying an Olympic Torch, Clive was described by City of York Chief Executive as ‘a stalwart of the city’.  They were joined by a bag-piper who ‘lamented’ the threatened closure of the factory.  A number of Leeds Councillors also joined the striking workers to show their continued support.

Tim Roache, GMB regional secretary for the Yorkshire and North Derbyshire region, said “Our members are fighting for their jobs but also for the dignity that bringing home a wage brings. This is not just about the loss of the their jobs as important as that is, the stark reality is that these workers are unlikely to find work anywhere ever again.”

Phil Davies, GMB national officer said: “Disabled people in Remploy have not taken lightly the decision to withdraw their labour. These are workers who do not have large amounts of savings. So for them to sacrifice a day’s pay shows the passion with which they are trying to save their jobs.

“The Government is running around like a headless chicken trying to introduce separate schemes of employment support when everybody knows that the economy is in recession and sustainable employment is not available.  “This decision to force the closure of Remploy means that thousands of disabled people and their families will be put into poverty and their health is bound to suffer.

“At the same time as the world’s athletes are going for gold, our members will be sent to the dole. What a disgrace, the Government should hang its head in shame. We can assure them that this will not be forgotten.”

A second strike will be held next Thursday.  For further details contact Steve Morris on 0845 3377777.