Remploy, the government funded company providing employment to disabled people, has announced proposals to close 32 of its factories and to merge a further 11 with nearby sites today.
The company, said that no disabled person would be made compulsorily redundant and that it would work with local employers to find jobs for anyone who wished to continue working. This would be on their current Remploy terms and conditions.
But union Unite, said that it was “disgusted” by Remploy’s announcement and that its disabled workers would find it “almost impossible” to get other jobs if their factory was closed.
Around 2,270 disabled people and 280 non-disabled employees will be affected by the changes. Overall Remploy operates 83 factories across Britain and employs more than 6, 500 people.
Other proposals from the company include the creation of 20 ‘town centre recruitment branches’ where disabled people will have access to services to prepare them for work in mainstream employment. It says that after five years these will support more than 20, 000 disabled people a year.
Bob Warner, Remploy chief executive, said: “We have a great opportunity to help more disabled people find jobs, but we have to change how we work in all areas of Remploy. There is now an acceptance that disabled people would prefer to work in mainstream employment alongside non-disabled people rather than in sheltered workshops from which they do no progress and develop.”
Warner added that each job in a Remploy factory cost on average more than £20, 000 a year and for the same money the company could place four people in jobs with mainstream employers.
The proposals are out for consultation over the summer.
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