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3012010 SSFM remploy 'Remploy Factory, Banbeath Industrial Estate, Leven
3012010 SSFM remploy 'Remploy Factory, Banbeath Industrial Estate, Leven
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A LEADING union claims politicians and managers are hindering any chance of a takeover of Leven’s threatened Remploy factory.

At a meeting last week with the Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee, Unite said potential buyers were having obstacles put in their way by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

Unite lead officer for Remploy in Scotland Lyn Turner also claimed Ministers and Remploy’s management displayed “a lack of transparency” when potential bidders asked for information needed to make a decision on the Banbeath factory.

He said: “You don’t buy a house without carrying out an initial survey – and the same is true regarding Remploy factories.

“You can’t expect interested parties to draw up business plans and look at finance without proper due diligence being performed.”

The deadline for bids has been set for next Thursday (March 28).

At Leven, where the disabled workforce manufacture life-jacket equipment, 29 jobs are at stake.

The Mail understands eight bidders are expected to lodge an expression of interest for the Banbeath factory by the deadline date.

Mr Turner said: “Leven produces world-class goods and it would be a shame if a company bought up and took the business elsewhere in the UK.

“If you look to where Remploy factories were set up, they are all in areas of high-level deprivation where jobs for people with disabilities were all the more difficult to come by.

“That’s still the case today.”

Lyn Turner described the situation as “heart-wrenching” for workers who faced losing their jobs through no fault of their own.

He said: “Last month, I met with Iain Duncan Smith and asked him to extend the deadline from March 28 to allow more time for potential buyers to come forward. He point-blank refused.

“We would like the deadline to be extended into the summer and potential buyers to have more time to decide whether they want to takeover the factories and run them either as a private business, social enterprise or as a co-operative.”

He concluded: “The obstacles that potential buyers currently face in the bidding process need to be removed immediately by Iain Duncan Smith.

“Otherwise workers could face the rest of their lives on the dole queue.”