Plan to close disabled workers’ factory

Staff at Pontefract's Remploy factory - which employs 62 disabled people - say they do not want to be transferred or made redundant when the site shuts and is merged with one at Leeds.'They say Leeds is too far to travel and that the site does not need to close.
Staff at Pontefract's Remploy factory - which employs 62 disabled people - say they do not want to be transferred or made redundant when the site shuts and is merged with one at Leeds.'They say Leeds is too far to travel and that the site does not need to close.

A PONTEFRACT factory which employs disabled residents is facing the axe after the government cut its funding.

The Remploy factory on Skinner Lane has been earmarked for closure in a cost-cutting cull of plants the organisation says are not “commercially viable”.

The site – which provides a packaging service and assembles and tests electro-mechanical products – employs 27 people, of which 26 are disabled.

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper slammed the decision as “deeply unfair” on Pontefract staff.

She said: “The government is pushing local workers out of a job and leaving companies that use Remploy in the lurch at a time when unemployment is going through the roof, with over 3,000 people already on the dole round here. Back-to-work schemes are sinking and the government thinks this is a good time to sack disabled workers.”

Remploy is a government body which aims to increase job opportunities for people with disabilities.

Last July, Liz Sayce, chief executive of disability charity Radar, led a consultation into closing the remaining factories.

She suggested the money required to keep Remploy factories open would be better spent on increasing the number of disabled people being helped into the general labour market.

Remploy will now consult with trades unions and managers on the proposed closure this year of 36 factories across the country. It said it would “consider all measures” to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Ms Cooper added: “The government promised to look at additional opportunities for Remploy factories but instead they have taken the decision to close them with no proper consultation.

“This decision is very worrying for disabled workers and I am calling for the government to rethink and do more to help Remploy workers who want to stay in jobs.”