As part of the ongoing fight to save the jobs of over 3,000 disabled workers, members of the GMB and UNITE unions at the 54 closure threatened Remploy factories last week organised a Bike Ride, from Burnley to London, to raise greater public awareness of the potential jobs losses.
Also, at the end of it, to hand over, which they have now done, a 100,000 plus signature petition to Government Ministers which will, they are hopeful, now trigger a debate in Parliament on the issue.
The Petition calls on the Government not to implement the recommendations of a report which could see all the firm’s factories shut. The Remploy workers think a majority of MPs might back it.
The workers at Remploy, which has a factory in Wigan, say the job losses will cost the Government considerably more in welfare benefits than it would for it to place work or ensure other public bodies place work with the company to ensure it runs at full capacity rather than the current 50%.
Evidence to this claim they say is the fact that the majority of Remploy workers who lost their jobs in 2008 are still on welfare three years later. This is not because a majority of them suddenly became work shy or lazy, or because they are better off on the dole, but because the jobs just aren’t there and it’s even harder to get one if you are disabled in any way.
You can sign their petition online at: http://www.saveremployfactories.co.uk/
The photo above is from Friday’s Remploy Bike Ride’s lunchtime visit to Wigan where they stopped for refreshments at the UNITE the Union offices in Hallgate.
Here’s the video of an interview I did with Wigan Remploy’s GMB Steward Ronnie Foster outside the UNITE offices.