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16 August 2012
Remploy workers currently facing the dole will get at least £5,000 less than that paid in previous Remploy redundancies and some will receive over £25,000 less which is plainly unfair
David Cameron was urged today to embrace the spirit of Olympic generosity and have a last-minute rethink on the closure of 54 Remploy factories.
A group of Remploy representatives from London today handed into 10 Downing Street a book with more than 8,000 messages of support from the public asking the Prime Minister to harness the goodwill generated by the Olympic Games to save the Remploy factories.
The representatives who presented the book at Downing Street were Julie Haynes and Mark Holloway (Barking factory), Mark Steward (North London factory) and Isrhad Mohammed (Acton factory). They were joined by Ray Ludford who was made redundant in 2008, but, at the time, kept on a Remploy contract and salary until he found work.
Last month, the government announced that 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 full list of factories facing closure are: Aberdare, Abertillery, Acton, Ashington, Barking, Birkenhead, Bolton, Cleator Moor, Gateshead, Lanarkshire, Leeds, Leicester, London (Haringay), Manchester, Merthyr Tydfill, Newcastle, Oldham, Penzance, Pontefract, Preston, Southampton, Spennymoor, Stoke-on-Trent, Swansea, Wigan, Worksop and Wrexham.
Phil Davies, GMB national secretary said:
"We have strongly 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 and GMB have been campaigning to keep the Remploy factories open as viable businesses and cite the 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%, a fantastic achievement."
In a letter to the premier Sally Kosky Unite national officer said:
"As a fitting and proper gesture for the forthcoming Paralympics Games, we ask you to reconsider your government's decision to close the 54 Remploy factories at this eleventh hour - already sites are in the process of being closed or sold off.
If your ministers are unable to do the morally right thing and keep the factories open, they should ensure that those facing a very grim life on the dole should, at least, be given the same redundancy terms that your government and the previous administration adhered to.
Remploy workers are currently facing the dole queue with a redundancy cheque that will be at least £5,000 less than that paid in previous Remploy redundancies, and some will receive over £25,000 less. This is plainly unfair.