Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Remploy factories to close

It was announced today that 43 Remploy factories will close. Remploy employs 5,000 disabled staff at its factories across the UK, which manufacture a variety of goods for firms. I was sent information regarding the closures as Unite T&G section represents some of the factories meant for closure as well as the GMB. And are also part of the Remploy Trade Union Consortium.

"The trade unions will now seek authority for a national official strike ballot in all 83 Remploy sites. The company and the government have taken no account of the advice given to them over the past 12 months".

What to me is utterly bizarre is the letter that appeared in the Guardian from organisations such as Mencap and MIND supporting these closures. And quite understandably TUs and workers alike are annoyed by this letter especially with the current attacks on welfare benefits and disability.

Whilst I know very little about about the other organisations who signed this letter, I do know MIND and when they say they represent and champion the rights of mental health users, don't believe the hype because they certainly don't listen to the demands and the needs of the very people they purport to represent!
I would be interested to hear what disability rights activists say and their take on this especially the organisation TUDA.


AN said...

GMB press release:>

Scale of closures shocks Remploy disabled workers

Responding to today’s announcement of 43 Remploy factory closures* Phil Davies, Secretary of the trade union consortium said, “This is an act of industrial sabotage which the government and the reemploy board of directors are trying to impose on disabled people and their families.

The 43 factory closures are in areas of high unemployment. We believe that the whole of the trade union movement will support our fight to secure these jobs and these factories.

The trade unions will now seek authority for a national official strike ballot in all 83 Remploy sites. The company and the government have taken no account of the advice given to them over the past 12 months.

Jenny Formby, Unite T&G section, Chair of the Remploy Trade Union Consortium said, “The sheer scale of the closures and its impact on disabled workers is both shocking and unprecedented. The grotesque spectacle of six organisation, purporting to represent disabled people, supporting these job loses is outrageous and equally shocking. It will not pass unchallenged. The trade unions are not arguing to maintain the status quo. The trade unions’ alternative business plan, costed to remain within the £555M cash envelope, not only maintains the factory network in manufacturing but expands and develops the role of all factories to become a resource for the whole disabled community.”

AN said...

TGWU organises four of the threatened factories, and the GMB the rest.

Interstingly, one of the T&G factories Remploy want to close is in Brixton, which could give it a very high profile if there is a national strike.

Louisefeminista said...

I have been sent information from the T&G about the closures and yeah I agree, regarding the Brixton factory. Will see what happens if there's a strike organisation wise. On a personal level I don't live too far away from Brixton.

AN said...

Let's see.

Over the last couple or few years, and especially so since deciding not to pursue merger with Amicus/T&G, the GMB are trying to position themslves as a union that is prepared for a ruck with managment if that is what management want.

For example the decsion for a 5 day strike against Walmart was made by the stewards in Walmart/Asda without offcier involvement, and the scale of the proposed acion made the employers cave in.

Louisefeminista said...

That maybe true about the GMB.

I mean, look at Woodley's behaviour in selling out the BA cabin crew a couple months ago...

Jim Denham said...

louise: good points about the GMB and Remploy' less good about Woodley and BA. If we on the left are to have any credibility when we attack union bureaucrats, we need to be clear on our facts. How, exactly, did Woodley "sell out" the BA cabin crew? I presume you have some inside knowledge not known to the T&G Broad Left? Incidentally: BA matters are dealt with by the CAT committe, not Woodley.

AN said...

Thanks for the correction, but please don't be so pompous ;o)

Louisefeminista said...

So Jim the BA cabin crew were happy with the settlement then?

Explain to me what really happened and that Woodley didn't sell them out.