Remploy staff to march on government

A national march calling at the 43 Remploy factories affected by cuts will begin in Aberdeen on 28 August and end at the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth on 24 September. A national strike ballot will also take place in all 83 Remploy factories in September.

The march is against Remploy’s decision to close 32 factories and merge 11 others with neighbouring sites, announced in May.

Also the GMB, Unite, and Community unions, which represent staff at Remploy, have written to more than 50,000 councillors, school governors and police authority members, urging them to increase their business with the employment provider for goods such as electrical appliances, wheelchairs and office furniture.

The unions claim spending on Remploy products currently amounted to a “minuscule” 0.024% of public procurement spending, which stands at £136bn.

The unions argue that Remploy has failed to take advantage of changes in European legislation that allows public authorities to award orders to supported workshops without going through the competitive tendering process.

A Remploy spokesperson said: “We are working closely with the unions on increasing the work we gain through public procurement and we have appointed a senior manager dedicated to growing these opportunities.”

She added that it was “disappointing” that the unions were talking about a national strike ballot as this could only have a “detrimental effect” on Remploy’s chances of gaining and retaining business, and was “premature”.

Related article
Read what Remploy staff think of the closures and their chances of mainstream employment

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Keith Sellick

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