MP slams Remploy factory closures

11 July 2012

ABERAVON MP Hywel Francis has condemned the decision to close five Remploy factories in Wales, and says he supports the strike called by Remploy workers across the country for Thursday next week.

Dr Francis said in a statement: “While the Baglan Remploy plant in my constituency of Aberavon is not under immediate threat, I deplore the Conservative-led Government’s continued withdrawal of funding for Remploy which puts all Remploy employees under threat.”

Twenty-seven Remploy factories, which employ workers with disabilities, will close across the UK, the Government has announced. In Wales, the Aberdare, Abertillery, Merthyr, Swansea and Wrexham factories will shut with the loss of 189 jobs.

Two other sites which were at risk – Bridgend and Croespenmaen, near Newport – will remain open.

The UK Government says the £320 million budget for disabled employment services could be spent more effectively.

Maria Miller, Minister for Disabled People, also announced a further consultation on the future of nine other Remploy sites across the UK, including the Baglan furniture factory.

In a statement to the Commons, Ms Miller said the workers had been told of the announcement on Tuesday.

She said: “This is difficult news. We are doing everything we can to ensure Remploy workers will receive a comprehensive package of support and guidance to make the transition from Government-funded sheltered employment to mainstream jobs,” she said.

Union sources said the 27 factories would close between August and mid-December.

Workers at Remploy’s 54 factories are due to stage two 24-hour strikes on July 19 and 26 in protest at the closures.

Dr Francis added: “I fully support the trade union campaign to safeguard the jobs of all Remploy employees. The closure of five of the seven Welsh Remploy factories is a terrible blow for disabled workers in Wales.

“I understand and support the just cause of the Remploy workers who will strike in 54 factories across Britain later this month in protest against this callous Government decision.

“I also support the proposal to devolve the Remploy budget to the Welsh Government.”

 

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