Remploy jobs fight continues

MPS YVETTE COOPER AND JON TRICKETT MEETING WORKERS FROM REMPLOY IN PONTEFRACT WHICH IS UNDER THREAT OF CLOSURE.
MPS YVETTE COOPER AND JON TRICKETT MEETING WORKERS FROM REMPLOY IN PONTEFRACT WHICH IS UNDER THREAT OF CLOSURE.

WORKERS at Pontefract’s closure-threatened Remploy factory have stepped up the fight to save their jobs.

A delegation from the Skinner Lane site met MPs Yvette Cooper and Jon Trickett last week at the Wakefield office of the GMB union.

The factory currently employs 60 people with a range of disabilities but is set to close in August, under government plans to move employees into mainstream places of work.

However, the MPs and activists campaigning to stop the closure fear many of the employees would struggle to find work elsewhere and are not satisfied with proposals to help them into alternative jobs.

Ms Cooper, MP for Pontefract and Castleford, said: “The government should be looking at getting people back into work, not laying people off. The way that workers at Remploy have been treated is shocking.

“Instead of working with the company to bring more orders in, make savings and find new ways of working, the government has just ploughed ahead with closure plans.

“And they have given no thought to what happens to people who have worked for Remploy for decades, who don’t want to leave, and who will really struggle to get a job once the factory closes.

“The Remploy workers at Pontefract have come up with a series of alternative plans for a viable business, but ministers just aren’t listening. We’re urging the government to rethink their plans.”

Hemsworth MP Mr Trickett added: “The government are acting in a completely heartless way. I have two constituents who have worked at Remploy for 30 years, met and married there and now potentially both are facing losing their jobs.

“The government need to show an interest in Remploy and fully understand the implications of their decision.”

Work carried out by Remploy in Pontefract includes packing sweets from the nearby Haribo works, which are then sent to customers across the country.

Remploy in Pontefract was threatened with closure in 2007, under plans to redeploy staff to another Remploy site in Leeds, but was saved following a campaign by the workforce, MPs and councillors.