Remploy workers vow to fight ‘to the end’ for jobs
DISABLED factory workers who have started a week-long strike over the threat of redundancy, have sworn that they will “fight to the bitter end” to protect their jobs.
Members of the GMB union are taking action at the Remploy factory in Springburn, Glasgow, along with staff at the company’s outlet in Derbyshire in the same dispute.
Remploy has closed 24 factories across the country in the past month and hopes to sell its site in Glasgow.
Union officials accuse the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of removing the obligation for a new employer to provide a pension.
GMB convener Phil Brannan has worked in the factory for 35 years. He said staff were given no details of the companies that could take over the workforce.
“All we’re asking for is that we’re told who the companies are,” he said. “We don’t want to know their business plans, you can understand that those are confidential, but we want to know the company so we can talk to them about our fears and set up a partnership so that if we are taken over, the takeover is done smoothly and done fairly.”
Mr Brannan said level of disability would be used as an arbiter in any job cuts: “The problem is that Maria Miller the minister for the disabled, has told the companies bidding this and nine other sites that within six months of taking us over, they can make as many people redundant as necessary, and there will be no limit on the number of disabled people being let go.
“Our big concern is that they’re here to make a profit, and they will go for those with the most severe disabilities, the least productive.”
Springburn worker Alex Robertson, who joined colleagues on the picket line, said: “The government seems to be playing quite hard ball with us, particularly at a time with the Paralympics, when disabled people are in the spotlight.”
However, a DWP spokesman said pensions would be protected under employment regulations and that the department was disappointed staff had gone on strike.
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