11 July 2012
Remploy confirms 27 factory closures
Remploy has confirmed it is to close 27 factories, amounting to half its UK sites. The move comes following the withdrawal of government funding for the group, which offers employment to the disabled.
In March, Remploy announced that 36 factories were at risk of closure, but this week it has announced it has potential buyers lined up for nine of these.
The government commissioned the Sayce review into the viability of Remploy. The recommendation was that funding can be better targeted to help individuals directly, rather than subsidising the manufacturing businesses. Remploy factories were established in 1945 to give employment opportunities to disabled people.
Maria Miller, minister for disabled people, said at the time of the review: "We have been absolutely clear that the £320m budget for specialist disability employment services has been protected. But by spending the money more effectively, we can get thousands more disabled people in work.
"That is why we have accepted the recommendation from the Sayce review to refocus support on individuals through services like Access to Work, rather than institutions like Remploy, so more disabled people can work in mainstream employment rather than government-funded segregated factories."
The GMB union has announced that strikes by workers across the group will take place on 19 and 26 July.
The 27 Remploy factories to close are: Acton, Ashington, Barking, Birkenhead, Bolton, Cleator Moor, Gateshead, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester, Newcastle, North London, North Staffordshire, Oldham, Penzance, Pontefract, Preston, Southampton, Spennymoor, Wigan, Worksop, Aberdare, Abertillery, Merthyr Tydfil, Swansea, Wrexham and Wishaw, plus operations at Boston Spa.
The factories attracting bids are: Aberdeen, Barrow, Bridgend, Bristol, Chesterfield, Croespenmaen, Edinburgh, Poole and Springburn, plus the Cook with Care business.
Redundancies could start from August, with site closures anticipated between September and December. The company has begun the process of individual consultation with affected employees.
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