Remploy staff ready for strike action vote

Colin Cuthbert

Colin Cuthbert

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DISABLED workers at Leven’s threatened Remploy factory have voted overwhelmingly to reject a latest pay deal.

Shop floor staff were offered a £250-a-year increase just one week after 180 Remploy bosses were awarded bonuses of up to £10k.

The negotiations come as anxious staff wait to hear the outcome of a Government consultation which could see Remploy closed down.

Leven’s shop steward Colin Cuthbert said: “We are incensed.

“We are possibly going to lose our jobs here and they are offering themselves bonuses of up to £10,000. It’s perverse to give bonuses to people who are running the company into the ground.

He added: “We were prepared to forego a pay rise in favour of keeping our jobs but now we are going to ballot for industrial action.”

The consultation was prompted by the Sayce report which recommended a phase out of segregated employment for disabled workers in favour of helping people access mainstream employment.

Remploy – which has 54 UK factories – is Government subsidised by over £110 million per year.

However, alongwith Cowdenbeath, 29 Leven workers manufacture 1000 lifejackets every week and last year achieved sales topping £1.2 million.

Mr Cuthbert anticipates a decision by mid-November.

“We are pretty upbeat about the way our campaign has gone and we have the support of Lindsay Roy, Helen Eadie and Gordon Brown,” he said.

“We feel we have put ourselves on the map and have done enough to make the Government think it might not be very easy to close our factories down.

“We are disabled people who refuse to lead a life on benefits. We want to work and we believe savings could be made, especially at managerial level.”