GMB fury over Remploy boss’s suggestion that dispute misery is over

Trade union officials have blasted Remploy chief executive Bob Warner for his assertion that the disability employer had moved on from its industrial relations problems.

Warner told Personnel Today last week that Remploy was “getting over” its dispute with unions over factory closures.

But Phil Davies, head of the Remploy Consortium of Trade Unions, retorted that the battle was far from over.

Davies, also national secretary of the GMB union, said: “I am not sure what planet Mr Warner is on, but GMB and the other trade unions are considering legal action for a large number of individuals.

“We do not believe that our dispute with the company is over, and we certainly have not stopped our campaign to bring justice for disabled people working in Remploy.”

The government angered unions late last year when it approved Remploy’s modernisation plan, which included the closure of 28 factories employing disabled people.

Remploy originally wanted to close 43 of its 83 factories to concentrate on placing disabled workers into mainstream employment.

The government negotiated a plan to save 15 of those factories through an extra £163m-worth of state procurement over five years along, but it also expects to see a £10m reduction in costs.

But Davies said: “We are disappointed at the efforts being made by the company to secure public procurement work.

“Warner has totally ignored his commitment given that a new and reduced management structure will be implemented and we still have the old regime that brought the company to its knees.”

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