STEVE LAMB (Team leader)
‘For a lot of people the sense of a close-knit community brings them on and helps them’
Steve Lamb, 61, has worked at the factory for 21 years. He has arthritis in his legs and asthma.
Job title: Team leader in the cutting room.
Prepared to strike: Yes.
Lamb came to Remploy from mainstream employment, and has first-hand experience of how, in his view, the mainstream does not suit everyone.
He says: “I have a nephew with brain damage. He went to work in a mainstream garage, but lasted two months before they picked on him and he came to work in Remploy. For some people outside work is fine, but for a lot of people the sense of a close-knit community brings them on and helps them.”
At the other extreme, he says that some mainstream employers are also guilty of unnecessarily “mollycoddling” disabled people – an approach that can lead to resentment from other workers.
He is critical of the way the workers were told about the closure, and of the decision to send in a manager from outside the factory to answer their questions. “They didn’t know anything about us. They didn’t know the people. They caused some people to be so upset it was unbelievable.
“We are fighting now for the future. My own son, if he had lived, would have probably ended up somewhere like this.”
When asked whether he would be able to find a job in mainstream employment if he had to, he is not hopeful. “I don’t think anyone would have me,” he says. “I had a new knee last year a new knee this year I’ve got a bad chest. Who’s going to employ me?”