Glasgow Remploy worker found dead after losing job

George Scollan, clipboard in hand, next to Sarah Boyack MSP at a demo last year.  Picture:
George Scollan, clipboard in hand, next to Sarah Boyack MSP at a demo last year. Picture:
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A DISABLED man has been found dead on the day the Glasgow factory where he worked for 40 years closed down after government funding cuts.

George Scollan, 58, had worked for Remploy, which specialises in providing work for people with disabilities, since 1973. But the factory, in Springburn, closed yesterday, with the loss of more than 40 jobs.

Colleagues said he had “lived for his job” and grown “more and more depressed” about the prospect of unemployment.

Phil Brannan, a friend and senior shop steward for the GMB/Unite consortium at Remploy, said: “This is an absolute tragedy. It’s too early to say what has happened, but it is too much of a coincidence for him to be found dead on the day his work closed down.

“As far as I know, he wasn’t suffering any particular health issues, but he had become extremely upset recently about the work situation.

“He had applied for a job with one of the organisations taking people on from Remploy, but he was unsuccessful and he was bitterly disappointed.”

Springburn was the fourth Remploy site in Scotland to close since the UK Department for Work and Pensions said last year its £320 million budget for specialist disability employment services had been protected, but that it wanted to spend the money “more effectively” to focus support on individuals rather than loss-making institutions such as Remploy.

Mr Scollan’s colleagues held a minute’s silence to honour his memory yesterday.

Mr Brannan said: “George never claimed a day’s benefit in his life and he felt that once he had been made redundant he would be labelled as a scrounger.

“Through no fault of his own, he lost his job today. The government know full well that many of these people now face long-term unemployment. It is a disgrace.”

Mr Scollan was the leader of a team of oxy-acetylene brazers assembling wheelchairs at the factory. It understood he had a daughter in her 20s. It is believed he had been living apart from his wife at the time of his death.

Colleague Alex Robertson, 51, said: “George was normally quite vocal, quite cheerful, but recently he had become very depressed.

“We are all dealing with it in different ways, but George sort of went into his shell.”

A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman said: “At 10:10am this morning, the body of a man was discovered within a room in a guesthouse in Firhill Road.

“A post-mortem will take place in due course to establish the exact cause of death. However police are not treating the death as suspicious.”

A Remploy spokesman said “We are distressed and shocked by the news that one of our long-serving employees was tragically found dead at home this morning. George was receiving support from Remploy and Jobcentre Plus to help him find another job.”

“We are supporting his work colleagues who have been offered one-to-one meetings with their manager and specialist HR support at the factory. Remploy is also organising a session with a trauma counsellor for any employees requiring further support at this very difficult time.”