Remploy Modernisation Plan Announced

The Remploy Modernisation plan will give a fair deal to the disabled workforce, with fewer factory closures and many more disabled people supported in mainstream employment, announced Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Peter Hain today.

Giving the green light for the plan, which will see 55 factories remain open - 15 more than originally proposed - Peter Hain urged the company and the unions to continue working together to make the plan work for disabled people across the country.

Peter Hain said:

"I have today agreed the final proposals that the Remploy Board submitted to me on 12th November. The proposals will mean many more disabled people supported in mainstream employment, fewer factory closures than previously planned and steady improvements in value-for-money.

"I can guarantee that in those factories which are proposed for closure there will be no compulsory redundancies for disabled workers. Furthermore, all those disabled workers who move into new employment will have all their terms and conditions, including membership of their final salary pension scheme, protected.

"The Remploy Board will also look at any third party interest in running these factories. I have been made aware of interest Remploy has received in keeping some form of production or training which could well involve existing Remploy workers at five of the sites due for closure: Lydney, Glasgow Hillington, St Helens, Ystradgynlais and Brynamman. At four other sites - Mansfield, Pinxton, Plymouth and York - there is the prospect of staff transfers to nearby, and mostly local authority supported plants.

"The sooner the process of modernisation begins, the greater the opportunity to maximise the number of additional factories that can be kept open. I have made clear my commitment to working within Government to help bring reliable, good quality public contracts into supported factories and businesses, including Remploy, using European procurement rules.

"It is now up to Remploy to make these plans work. I want to see the company and the unions continue to work together, to make sure we get a fair settlement for existing Remploy workers while opening up opportunities for thousands more disabled people to move into jobs."

But the Remploy unions are not happy at all and responded angrily to the announcement. Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said:

"This announcement by Peter Hain has angered Remploy workers and their supporters. This Government controlled operation has failed its people, its principles and its purpose. The run down of Remploy in recent years, by the failed management of the business has been the main reason for our predicament. The Remploy unions will continue to campaign for the existing factory network and for the management changes required to deliver for Remploy's disabled employees. These closures are completely unnecessary. If Remploy was called Northern Rock I am certain that we would not be seeing a single redundancy."

Source: GNN / GMB


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