Behind The Scenes Plan To Close Remploy Factories

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GMB Remploy workers contingent on the Tolpuddle Martyrs anniversary march on July 16th last year
GMB Remploy workers contingent on the Tolpuddle Martyrs anniversary march on July 16th last year

THE GMB trade union say it has found out that senior members of Remploy management are visiting MPs to brief them about the closures of Remploy factories in their constituencies and the loss of jobs for disabled people before speaking with the disabled people themselves.

It is expected that the company will name the factories to be closed next week.

‘This is a disgrace,’ Phil Davies, GMB National Secretary and Senior Remploy Negotiator said.

He continued: ‘The Joint trade unions do not even meet Remploy to start the statutory consultation period until the 22nd May 2007.

‘And already we find out from an MP that the company is discussing ending the livelihoods of disabled workers before telling them what their future holds.

‘The joint trade unions are asking all Labour MPs to bolt the door against this backdoor tactic and send Remploy managers packing.’

Jennie Formby, Unite National Secretary said: ‘This is typical of the Board of Directors which has lied to the trade unions and their workforce all the way through the review process.

‘To discuss in the press and with MPs the future of more than 5,000 disabled people’s future is deplorable.’

Les Woodward, GMB Remploy Convenor added: ‘This leaves the trade unions and our members free to deal with this outrageous company and its hardhearted Board of Directors.

‘We are fed up with the way we are treated and the government needs to wake up and smell the coffee.’

The trades unions in Remploy are GMB, TGWU, Amicus GPMU Section, and Community.

The GMB yesterday published the text of a letter from the Joint Trade Union Consortium to ‘All Remploy employees, Remploy supporters and MPs’.

It was signed by Phil Davies, GMB National Secretary & Secretary to Remploy Consortium of Trade Unions; Jennie Formby, T&G National Secretary & Chair of the Remploy Consortium of Trade Unions; Kevin Hepworth, Amicus National Secretary; Colin Tait, Community National Secretary.

They wrote:

‘Dear colleagues,

‘FUTURE OF REMPLOY

‘You may have read articles in the media today indicating that Remploy are to make an announcement to close a substantial number of Remploy factories.

‘We have spoken to the Chief Executive, Bob Warner, and Ann Jessop HR Director, who have now stated that they will be meeting the Remploy Consortium of Trade Unions one day next week to give formal notice of the commencement of the consultation required under the Redundancy Payments legislation.

‘The Consortium of Trade Unions have reacted with anger at being informed of this announcement in the press.

‘As you are aware, the Consortium, with the help of Grant Thornton, has drawn up a comprehensive business plan which keeps all 83 factories open but operates within the £555m funding envelope as specified by the Secretary of State.

‘The Consortium of Trade Unions will now intensify its campaign to stop the closures and decimation of Remploy factories and we urge all members and Remploy workers to join in our campaign.

‘We ask you to protest in the strongest possible terms to your local MPs, councillors, trades councils, and Disability Groups about any proposed closures.

‘Please ensure that the whole of our membership are made aware of the current critical situation.

‘Together we can stop this vicious attack on the rights of disabled people to choose how and where they should be employed.

‘It is essential for all members and shop stewards to keep in regular contact with Consortium members for further information as the campaign develops.’

Davies pledged yesterday: ‘The trade unions will oppose any plans for closures and will only discuss the trade union business plan.

‘We believe that the company have acted in a hostile manner and have broken the terms of reference given to them by the secretary of state John Hutton MP.’

l GMB Somerset General Branch will be announcing their latest Campaign supporting GMB members in the Care Industry at a launch at the Guildhall in Chard on the 25th of this month.

Colin Rolfe, GMB Somerset Branch Secretary said: ‘We are very pleased to have the support of our Labour MEP for the South West, Glyn Ford, who will be our guest of honour on the 25th May to officially launch the campaign for us.

‘It is a major campaign supporting carers in this difficult and demanding industry and is as a result of the branch’s support and growth in membership within Sedgemoor College.’