Remploy workers facing redundancy under Coalition government plans to close more than 50 specialist factories for workers with disabilities have lobbied the offices in central London of the Department of Work and Pensions.
(Pictured: Remploy workers demonstrate outside DWP office, April 2012)
They say they want to confront the Disabilities Minister, Maria Miller – dubbed ‘factory killer’ by campaigners, with the effects of the closure programme on thousands of vulnerable workers.
It comes after the consortium of unions coordinating the campaign, GMB, Unite and Community, announced it had suspended a third day of strike action due last Monday (6 August) in favour of a public campaign which they believe will be more effective in persuading the government to change course.
Union activists say they are preparing to hold demonstrations in all the cities around the UK where there are Remploy factories in an effort to galvanise greater public awareness of the impact of the closure plans.
Ministers and some charities claim the Remploy factories have become loss-making ‘ghettos’ for a largely middle-aged workforce.
However, campaigners say Remploy – which was set up in the aftermath of the Second World War to help provide work for injured veterans – has a record of providing a supportive working environment for vulnerable employees.
They also say 90% of workers made redundant during previous cuts at the company are still unemployed, nearly two years later.
UnionNews will post a film report on today’s protest later.