OVER 130 union stewards at Remploy voted at a national meeting on Thursday of last week to ballot for industrial action if the company forces through factory closures. Remploy is a government funded company that employs disabled workers. Its plans to shut at least nine factories. New Labour's minister for disabled people, Margaret Hodge, backs the closures. Around 1,000 disabled workers could lose their jobs. The Remploy union stewards, mainly from the GMB and TGWU unions, voted overwhelmingly for strikes.
Remploy's new corporate plan is due on 22 February. If it confirms the factory closures, a strike ballot is set to go ahead. The conference also voted to hold a candlelit vigil outside the House of Commons on 8 and 9 February. Regional days of action are also planned next month. The factories due to be axed include three in south Wales, three in Stoke, and one each in Bradford, Barnsley and Gateshead.