Workers have today kicked off a month-long campaign to keep open 43 factories which employ disabled staff.
Members of the GMB, Unite and Community unions have arranged meetings and will march at each of the Remploy sites earmarked for closure in an attempt to save the 2,500 jobs set to be lost.
The campaign started today at the Aberdeen Remploy factory, which is scheduled for closure. The demonstration will travel through the UK, visiting each of the 43 factories, and ending at the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth in September.
Remploy says it wants to put 2,270 of its 5,000 disabled employees into mainstream employment.
Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, told the rally in Aberdeen: “The EU rules allow public sector orders to be placed with Remploy without going out to tender. We want to see an end to the nonsense that orders for uniforms for British forces and for medical staff are going to China, while Remploy factories are being closed for lack of work.
“This month-long mobile demonstration aims to generate a groundswell where the politicians who can sort this out are given the backbone to do so. The trades unions will not allow the destruction of jobs for disabled workers without a fight,” he added.
The GMB voted for industrial action at Remploy’s factories in June and put pressure on Anne Jessopp, executive director of HR at Remploy, to resign over her handling of the factory closure announcements.