Monday, 3 September 2012

Remploy workers take five days strike action at Chesterfield

Five days strike action starts today (Monday) by Remploy workers at Chesterfield over sell offs and cuts to pay and jobs.

GMB and Unite members employed by Remploy at Chesterfield and Springburn will take five days of strike action from 6am on 3rd September 2012 until 6am on 10th September. Picket lines will be open from 7am each day of the strike. The dispute is over the terms of transfer the any new buyers of these factories. The DWP have removed the obligation for a new employer to provide a pension and all three potential buyers may want to make redundancies based on the individual disability says GMB.

During August 24 Remploy sites closed as follows: Aberdare, Abertillery, Acton, Ashington, Barking, Birkenhead, Bolton, Cleator Moor, Gateshead, Lanarkshire, London (Haringay), Manchester, Merthyr Tydfill, Newcastle, Oldham, Penzance, Pontefract, Preston, Southampton, Spennymoor, Swansea, Wigan, Worksop and Wrexham. The workers are now on the dole.

The Leeds, Leicester, Stoke-on-Trent factories are due to close later in the year. The future of the 18 other factories, employing 872 workers, is yet to be determined. A further 9 others, including Chesterfield and Springburn, are due to be sold off.

Phil Davies, GMB National Secretary, said: "members at Remploy Chesterfield and Springburn are concerned that no information about three potential buyers has been given to them. The DWP has removed the obligation for a new employer to provide a pension. We understand that all three potential buyers may want to make redundancies based on the individual disability.

Two weeks ago 24 factory sites were closed and senior management stayed away from all these sites. Not a single person was personally thanked for their work and some of these people had worked at Remploy for over 30 years. Factory Managers who had worked hard to develop the abilities left in tears.

The Olympics brought a bright light to the UK and the Paralympics are underway where all disabled people can celebrate but Thursday 16th August a dark cloud descended on 25 Remploy factory sites and in all the other sites a cold veil of tears fell across Remploy factory sites. The commitment and hard work of the Remploy Employees will never be forgotten."

Kevin Hepworth, Unite Chair of Remploy Consortium of Trade Unions, said: "Thursday and Friday 16th and 17th August were the worst days of this government's life. To attack the most vulnerable in our society and throw them on the scrap heap is an act against disabled people. There has been no thought about this. Iain Duncan Smith has avoided meeting the Trade Unions. This shows the massive divide between those in power and those who cannot defend themselves."

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