Unions brand closure of Remploy factories employing disabled people as ‘act of industrial sabotage’ and threaten national strike

Trade unions have threatened a national strike over the decision to close 43 factories employing disabled people.

More than 2,000 mainly disabled workers will be affected when 32 of the Remploy manufacturing sites are shut and 11 are merged with others.

The non-governmental public body is cutting the subsidised jobs to focus on its aim of placing 20,000 disabled people into mainstream employment annually by 2010.

Phil Davies, GMB national secretary and head of the Remploy Trade Union Consortium, said: “This is an act of industrial sabotage. The government and the Remploy board of directors are trying to impose [this] on disabled people and their families.

“The trade unions will now seek authority for a national official strike ballot at all 83 Remploy sites. The company and the government have taken no account of the advice given to them over the past 12 months.”

Remploy has insisted that disabled people prefer to work alongside able-bodied people rather than in “sheltered workshops”.

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