Work and pensions secretary Peter Hain promised “justice for Remploy workers” yesterday and said decisions on factory closures would be taken by ministers, not the government-funded company.
In a Labour Party conference speech, Hain also said he would work to increase the number of public sector contracts given to Remploy factories, which currently employ around 5,000 disabled people, a key aim of trade unions representing staff.
The unions, led by GMB and Unite, have opposed the closure of over half of Remploy’s 83 factories, announced by the company in May, and designed to help it transfer resources into supporting disabled people into mainstream employment.
Peter Hain said: “We have a duty to help even more disabled people into work while helping those for whom supported employment remains the best option.”
He also reiterated the company’s commitment that there would be no compulsory redundancies and that employees’ pay levels and final salary pension arrangements would be protected.
His comments come ahead of the expected announcement today by unions of the result of an industrial action ballot of members in protest against the closures.
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