Disabled workers in Huddersfield face jobs axe as Govt reveals plan to close Remploy factory at Waterloo

THIRTY disabled workers face redundancy under plans to close a factory in Huddersfield.

THIRTY disabled workers face redundancy under plans to close a factory in Huddersfield.  

Workers at the site at Tandem Industrial Estate, Waterloo, have been told the Government proposes to close the factory as it is “not commercially viable”.  

Employees at the site, which makes car interior trim for manufacturers including Vauxhall and Toyota, are now at risk of compulsory redundancy.  

They are among hundreds of disabled people who face losing their jobs under fresh plans to axe 15 Remploy factories across the country.  

Ministers announced earlier this year that a number of Remploy factories would close, arguing that the budget for disabled employment services could be spent more effectively.

Thirty-four factories have ceased operations since then and are in the process of closing, but the future of a further 18 sites remained unclear.

Some of the factories have the potential to move out of Government-funded support, but others are set to close, ministers said today.  

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "From today, Remploy will invite expressions of interest to take over the running of the remaining factories.

"Our priority throughout this process is to safeguard jobs, which is why we are offering a wage subsidy of up to £6,400 per disabled employee to encourage interested parties to come forward.

"We have also been clear from the start that we have protected the £320 million budget for disability employment services.

"But we are following the advice of disability expert Liz Sayce to use the money more effectively to get more disabled people into mainstream jobs - the same as everyone else.

"All disabled employees affected by the changes will be guaranteed tailored support from an £8 million package, including a personal case worker, to help with the transition into mainstream employment."



Phil Davies of the GMB union said: "This is devastating news for the disabled workers in Remploy and gives the lie to the Chancellor's claim in his Autumn Statement yesterday that the vulnerable would be taken care of by the Government."    

Workers at risk of redundancy are in 15 Remploy factories, with three automotive businesses not included.

Remploy said it had considered the viability of the remaining businesses and how they might move out of Government control.

The company said the automotive business operating from factories in Coventry, Birmingham and Derby was viable, with a strong and established customer base.

Remploy will now move to market this business and does not propose to make any of the employees redundant.

The automotive textiles operation at Huddersfield is not commercially viable and the factory is proposed for closure. All staff in this business are now at risk of redundancy.

The furniture business based in Neath, Sheffield and Blackburn has the potential to be commercially viable but currently makes significant losses, said Remploy.

To achieve commercial viability it is likely that the business would require significant restructuring and downsizing of its operations.

 
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