Remploy human resources chief Anne Jessopp has rubbished union claims that the troubled employer wants to pay disabled people to sit at home.
Talks over Remploy’s future broke down when unions failed to agree to a modernisation plan that would see 28 instead of 43 factories closed.
Jenny Formby, chair of the Remploy Trade Union Consortium, told Personnel Today: “We had a difference of opinion – Remploy felt the only way forward was factory closures, and said that nobody displaced by these closures would face compulsory redundancy.
“We didn’t think that was particularly helpful as it would mean disabled people sitting around at home on full pay.”
Formby said Remploy’s staff valued their work highly. But Jessopp, executive director of HR at publicly funded Remploy, insisted that anyone who lost their job in a factory would be placed in mainstream employment.
“The union was not prepared to talk about any factory closures,” she said. “That is just financially not viable.”
Formby said Jessopp had not kept her promise to wipe the slate clean in discussions with unions, ordered after work and pensions secretary Peter Hain guaranteed there would be no compulsory job losses. But Jessopp insisted that management had been open-minded and talks had been constructive.