Remploy closes 43 factories

22-05-2007

Remploy closes 43 factories
Remploy is to close 43 of its factories in response to company losses.

Proposals put to trade unions today include the closure of 32 factories and the merger of a further 11 with nearby sites.

The company, the leading provider of employment services for disabled people, said that today's proposals will affect about 2,270 disabled people and 280 non-disabled employees.

Unions have responded angrily to the announcement and have warned that strike action may now be a possibility.

No disabled person will be made compulsorily redundant, Remploy claims, and they will be offered work with another local employer.

Employees can opt for voluntary redundancy or may be able to retire early with a voluntary redundancy payment.

Remploy chief executive, Bob Warner, said that the company has "to change how we work in all areas".

"There is now an acceptance that disabled people would prefer to work in mainstream employment alongside non-disabled people rather than in sheltered workshops from which they do not progress and develop," he added.

"Manufacturing has moved to overseas competitors and each job in our factories now costs on average more than £20,000 a year. For the same money we can place four people in real and satisfying jobs with mainstream employers."

Phil Davies, national secretary of the union GMB, said that Remploy employees "have now been stabbed in the back by the leaders of the disability organisations who called for them to be sacked without ever having spoken them or their representatives".

"Remploy workers are now faced with a co-ordinated push by the management and the government… I am warning the management and the government that going forward with these proposed factory closures will lead to a national strike. It is difficult to see how it can now be avoided," Mr Davies added.



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