"These cuts will make 1,700 disabled workers unemployed"
Les Woodward, GMB national convener of Remploy, says:
For 70 years, since the end of the second world war, Britain has led the world in providing supported employment to disabled people – mainly through a company called Remploy.
But in July the government announced that 27 Remploy factories will close by the end of the year, which will make around 1,700 disabled workers unemployed. That’s why we recently held five-day strikes at Springburn and Chesterfield.
The government wants to throw disabled people onto the scrapheap. We’re in the middle of the biggest financial crisis that’s hit the country for generations. Where are these people going to work now?
Disabled people are already being stigmatised and their benefits are being slashed. We can’t just look at Remploy in isolation, because the government is planning to make cuts across the public sector. These will affect disabled people badly, because the public sector has always been very good at employing people with disabilities.
The government seems to have an attitude of total contempt for disabled people. I have spoken to veterans of the Iraq War who worked at Remploy. Now the factories are closed, they simply don’t know what they are going to do.
If Big Issue readers want to support our strike, we would ask them to write to the DWP or Iain Duncan Smith to voice their anger.
For more info about the Remploy campaign visit www.gmb.org.uk