Disabled workers at Remploy in Merseryside and York struck last week in an attempt to save their jobs.
They are furious at the closure decision made by former Work and Pensions secretary Peter Hain, who had previously appeared to put a block on the closures during last year’s Labour Party conference, when he said there would be no closures without ministerial approval.
Both the Aintree and St Helens sites will close, while the Central Cutting Unit in Wallasey is planned to merge with the Birkenhead factory.
More than 100 workers have taken part in the action each Wednesday and Thursday throughout February.
Paul Bragg, GMB senior steward, said, “It’s a sad state of affairs when disabled people are having to fight tooth and nail to keep their factory open.”
Geoff Lewis has worked at the York site for 34 years but says its closure will now see him having to move to Manchester.
“If it stayed open, I wouldn’t go, but I’ve got to support myself,” he said. “To close the factory is disgusting and means there will be nothing for future generations of disabled people. We can’t just accept it and lie down and die – we’ve got to do what we can to save it.”
Sharon Mackillop, who has worked York Remploy for 11 years, said, “I feel let down – the government is treating us like dirt. We have been betrayed.”
Remploy’s York operation is scheduled for full closure at the end of March, but workers say they have been
told they will have to move out of the site – which is already up for sale – by Thursday of next week.