Disabled REMPLOY Workers Demonstrate In London, Edinburgh And Sheffield In A Bid To Save Jobs

20 Apr 2012

Hundreds of disabled workers demonstrated today against cuts outside the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) offices in London and Sheffield, and also Edinburgh outside the office of the Secretary of State. These events were organised by Remploy unions GMB and Unite.

The Remploy workers are angry at the coalition government’s decision to shut 36 of the 54 Remploy sites this summer with compulsory redundancies for 1,752people, of these 1,518 are disabled, with the remaining 18 sites envisaged to close soon after.  This decision was made on 7 March 2012, just days after the government announced the Welfare Bill aimed at helping people into work.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, travelled to Sheffield from his London base to address over 300 people who had crammed into Sheffield Town Hall;  during his speech he pledged his commitment and support to the desperate workers.

36 white balloons were released outside Sheffield Town Hall to signify each of the factories earmarked for closure.

Phil Davies, GMB National Secretary said “These demonstrations are a measure of the massive public support for the continuation of Remploy factories.  It is now clear that this government will use the money that was agreed to employ disabled people to privatise its’ Employment Services business.  It is outrageous that the government can take away the jobs of disabled workers the length and breadth of the UK to carry out an ideological privatisation.”

Kevin Hepworth, Unite Officer with responsibility for Remploy said “As expected hundreds of people, workers from Remploy and members of the public attended these demonstrations.  We have received a huge number of telephone calls from disabled people who are concerned that their family members and members of their community will be denied this type of support in the future.  We call on the government to honour its commitment given less than a year ago that no disabled worker would be made compulsory redundant in Remploy.”