Unions call for Remploy HR team to resign after factory closures were announced to staff by DVD

Unions have called for the resignation of all 47 HR professionals at Remploy after it announced factory closures by DVD.

The publicly funded body, which provides jobs for disabled people, is cutting the subsidised jobs to focus on placing 20,000 disabled people a year into mainstream employment by 2010.

Les Woodward, national Remploy convener for the GMB union, told Personnel Today: “The situation has been totally mismanaged by HR. The best thing the HR team can do is resign.”

More than 2,000 mainly disabled staff will be affected when 32 manufacturing sites are closed and 11 are merged with others. A private counselling company was called in to break the news last month.

“Bringing in the counselling company made the situation worse. At one site, there were 96 questions asked, and not one was answered,” said Woodward.

“The news was broken by DVD – the HR team did not have the common decency to speak to people face to face.”

Phil Davies, head of the Remploy union consortium, claimed the organisation’s HR team, led by Anne Jessop, was one of the worst in the country.

“We know more about the employees than the HR department, which can’t be right,” he said. “There is no disability awareness. They need to take a more personal approach.” Davies added that the use of the DVD was “a lesson in how not to consult with workers”.

A vote will be held today (Tuesday) on strike action over the closures. Staff occupation of the sites as part of a protest is also a possibility, according to the unions.

A Remploy spokeswoman insisted senior managers did deliver the message personally, as well as using DVDs and letters. “We always use a range of tools and techniques to ensure everyone has every opportunity to understand the messages,” she said.

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