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Thursday, 19 July 2012

Supporting striking disabled Remploy workers

Today thousands of hard working disabled workers who work at the Remploy factories across the UK are taking strike action to defend their jobs. They face loosing all of their jobs and being thrown on to the scrap heap. The socialist party and the NSSN stand shoulder to shoulder with all taking action today.

None of the Con-Dem cuts are necessary but this cut is particularly vicious. For a paltry saving, the government is prepared to throw hundreds of disabled people onto the scrap heap.
Any claims that this is to stop segregation make your blood boil - where are the jobs, where is the support, for these workers to make a transition to a "normal" workplace?
One GMB member explained: "I worked in a different factory for seven and a half years before coming here.
I hated it - I was constantly bullied. Coming here has been great for me. I've worked here for 21 years. I'm much more comfortable here, I've made friends."
A lot of the people working at Barking have family members who are also disabled or in need have support. What was worrying them was that if Remploy factories close, it's not only themselves who suffer, but what future will there be for their families?
One said: "Just because we have a learning disability we're treated like second class citizens - we can be kicked out and shouldn't be seen and shouldn't be heard".
Paul said: "I've been on eight or ten protests to fight for our jobs here. We marched to parliament. But this is the first time I've had to go on strike. We've got no choice."
At lunchtime today the press are meant to be coming and workers from some of the other Remploy factories also under threat in London are coming over for a rally.

By Paula Mitchell



Barking GMB steward condemns Remploy closure plans
Barking Remploy GMB shop steward Mark Holloway spoke to The Socialist:
"This dispute is about the closure of the Remploy factories. The government has made a decision that Remploy will close.
"There are 54 Remploy factories nationwide. They produce a good standard of goods. It will cost thousands of disabled people the opportunity to work and condemn them to a life on social security.
"Remploy provides an opportunity for disabled people to work in an environment that is safe and which understands their special needs, and gives them an opportunity to contribute to the local and national economy.
"It is far better than a life on benefits. Remploy factories are like small communities. A lot of people have leaning difficulties and are challenged but they feel safe and they make friends and do a day's work.
"Remploy work also gives respite to the parents, carers and social workers that have to look after them."

On Thursday 19 July Remploy Unite members in Portsmouth joined the picket lines to show their opposition to the threat to jobs.
Rosemary has worked at Remploy for 35 years: "This is my life. If this place closes, would we get other work? This was a job for life. It it closes it will effect everything, including our pensions."
Gary added: "Can't remember the last person they took on. People want dignity, a wage; people have a right to work.
Cameron says we sit around drinking tea. That's not true. If we haven't got work here we do maintenance and cleaning duties. What Remploy needs is investment in new machinery and new contracts."
The Unite steward in Portsmouth Remploy said: "Our members want security and to know their future. We need to get people back into work.
"We have young people here on eight week work experience; they should be offered jobs here. I've worked here 34 years.
"Whoever takes over here wants to reduce disabled people to 51% of the workforce. I've been amazed at the support here today."



This fight is not going away the cuts will continue we are only 15% in to the cuts project. Its time we all stand up and fight. The socialist party needs your support and so do these workers who are some of the most vunrable in society. We send our solidarity and support to all workers taking action today.

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