Tuesday, November 21, 2017
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Remploy Strike

Remploy

Remploy workers across the country have joined existing strike action after the Government announced that the 320 million budget for disabled employment services could be better spent.

As a result it plans to close or sell fifty four factories in total. GMB and Unite unions have said their members plan more strike action next week.

Phil Davies of the GMB union explained that 'disabled people in Remploy have not taken lightly to the decision to withdraw their labour'. The news has led to a raft of public supporters for Remploy's workers and Unites Kevin Hepworth expressed his surprise at the amount of support they've received. This support has come in the form of hundreds of emails and phone calls from members of the public who strongly disagree with the Government's plans and the brutal way in which they are managing the dismissal of so many disabled workers.

The Government's decision to close so many Remploy factories comes as a result of an independent review by Liz Sayce, the Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK. She suggested that the funds could be better used by supporting individuals as opposed to offering factories subsidies in order to recruit more disabled workers. The subsidies have gone towards the extra costs incurred when providing suitable working conditions for those with a disability. She suggested a diversion of the funds into a scheme which provides technology and other help to firms that employ disabled workers. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have added that almost a fifth of the budget for disabled employment is spent on Remploy and the majority of its factories are loss making. Last year Remploy factories lost 68.3 million.

The Unions have argued that their members working at the factories would struggle to find work elsewhere. They have argued that a lot of the most severely disabled workers would end up on benefits. At the moment they have meaningful employment with some working for Jaguar Land Rover. The union's decision to strike has disappointed the DWP who don't believe that the strike will achieve anything. They should be working with Remploy during the consultation process to ensure the best possible success for disabled staff who have to leave the company. Despite this, a second strike with more factories involved is planned for Thursday 26 July.

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