Remploy workers united over strike

Remploy protest outside Apex International Hotel on Grassmarket
Remploy protest outside Apex International Hotel on Grassmarket

REMPLOY workers in Leven look set to strike after union members voted in favour of taking industrial action against the prospect of closures within the disabled workers’ firm.

The decision follows an announcement in March that 36 of the 54 Remploy sites in the UK were to close with the loss of 1752 jobs.

Leven’s Remploy factory, at Banbeath Industrial Estate, was not one of the 36 listed at the time but it was also revealed that it, and the 17 other remaining sites, would either close or be sold off in due course, leading to 2800 disabled workers’ jobs being lost.

The Unite and GMB unions have announced members will stage strikes on Thursday, July 19, and Thursday, July 26. A continuous overtime ban will start tomorrow (Thursday).

Almost 80 per cent of the GMB members voted for a strike, with just under 60 per cent of Unite members agreeing. Over 87 per cent of the GMB members voted for action short of a strike, with just over 76 per cent of Unite members echoing that view.

Phil Davies, GMB national secretary, said: “The Government’s intention to destroy thousands of disabled workers jobs in Remploy has given rise to an overwhelming vote for strike action against the proposed closures of their 54 factories.

“These closures are going ahead without any consideration of the feelings and needs of these workers and their families or their future job prospects. To close a factory that employs disabled people in the present economic climate is a sentence to life of unemployment and poverty.”

Sally Kosky, Unite’s national officer for the not-for-profit sector, added: “This vote for strike action demonstrates our members’ disgust at the way they have been treated by the Government’s policies which are designed to throw them on the dole queue at a very difficult economic time.

“Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith – the uncaring face of the coalition – has provoked this strike at Remploy by refusing to listen to the economic arguments. His decision is based on right-wing dogma.

“Our members are desperate to work in an environment that takes account of their disability and where they can make a valued contribution to society and pay their way.”