Socialist Worker

Remploy factory workers are still up for a fight

by Julie Sherry
Issue No. 2317

This week saw the first closures of the 36 marked Remploy factories, which provide work for disabled people. But workers at some sites are refusing to give up the fight.

Around 2,000 Remploy workers’ jobs were threatened when the government announced that 36 of the 54 factories were to close—27 by the end of the year.

But after two well‑supported strike days in July, the unions called off a third walkout. Many of the factories closed this week, showing the urgent need for unions to escalate action.

The Tories will be coming back for more. A further nine factories face an uncertain future with the rest due to close next year.

In Chesterfield and Springburn, Glasgow, Remploy workers are planning more strikes. Kevin, GMB steward at the Chesterfield site, told Socialist Worker they are planning to strike for four days.

“We can see closures happening this week,” he said. “There’s a bare minimum redundancy package. There’s billions spent on the Olympics, but this government can’t cough up enough to support 1,500 disabled people who want to work—we’ll never get work again if we don’t fight.”

The Chesterfield and Springburn factories are both part of the same section, Remploy Healthcare.

Phil Brennan, GMB Remploy convenor in Scotland, told Socialist Worker, “We’ve been treated with utter contempt. Workers are asking for another three day strike. I’d be extremely surprised if the unions didn’t support this demand.

“We’re up for a fight here. Members informed management that if they went ahead excluding the union from meetings with potential buyers of our factory, workers would down tools and occupy the site.”

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