York Disabled Workers’ Cooperative Set Up

17 May 2010

Friday 14th May 2010

Phil Davies, national secretary for manufacturing with the GMB, said the company would be self-sufficient and hoped it would rapidly expand to take on more staff.

He said: “It will produce garden furniture and pet accommodation and we hope to develop over the next couple of years in to other products such as silk-screen printing. There’s only going to be three people initially, but by the end of the year we hope there will be eight to ten.”

He said the co-operative also aims to take on a disabled apprentice by the end of the year.

He said: “This is going to be an enterprise for disabled people run by disabled people – they will be making the day-to-day decisions. These are proper jobs proper jobs with rates of pay far in excess of the minimum wage.”

The York Disabled Workers Co-operative came about after former workers of the closed York Remploy factory joined forces with unions to raise the £56,000 needed to set up the scheme. John Wilson is one the 51 workers who has been jobless since the Remploy closure in 2008 and is now looking forward to getting to work at the new co-operative.

He said: “This is a new chance, and being involved in a workers’ co-operative is something I have always wanted to be involved with. It’s not just for people who were on Remploy’s books; it’s for anyone in York.”

The company is expected to open for business at the end of this month once the lease for a workshop in James Street has been finalised.

Source - York Press 14/5/10