DETERMINED staff at Pontefract’s Remploy factory are back at the picket lines over plans to close the site – and a third protest is on the cards.
GMB union members are today (Thursday July 26) holding their second 24-hour strike in two weeks to fight government plans to shut the business by the end of the year.
But while half the factory staff stood at the gates of the Skinner Lane site last Thursday and again this morning, another date for industrial action is pencilled in for August 6.
Dave Thorpe, shop steward, said: “It went well last week but the Remploy board isn’t giving up at the moment, so we’re going to keep fighting them.
“Morale on the day was brilliant and that’s why we’re doing it this week. The atmosphere was absolutely fantastic throughout the place and I want to say well done to members for doing it.
“We’ll try again on August 6 to get a better deal for us. People are absolutely disgusted with what they’re being offered, it’s terrible. People will have to sell their homes and their cars.
“There’s no future for them.”
Mr Thorpe told the Express last week union members are challenging the closure plans, the lack of consultation with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), and the terms of their redundancy packages offered by the company’s executive board.
Steve Morris, GMB union organiser, said plans to axe the factory – which he claims had ongoing contracts – are targeting the “most vulnerable people in society.”
He added: “We want proper, meaningful consultation with not only the company but the DWP. The strike in August has not been confirmed, but people don’t want to be striking.
“They’ve never had a national strike at Remploy so that shows how upset they are with the plans to take their jobs away.
“Disabled people are often at the back of the queue when finding a job, people genuinely feel they will be on the scrap heap.”
A Remploy spokesman said: “The company is disappointed that the GMB and Unite Unions have called their Remploy members out on strike action. Strike action will do nothing to secure the future jobs of Remploy staff.
“We are concerned that industrial action could deter future buyers for the nine factories which are subject to the commercial process and for the current contracts and future prospects of the remaining 18 Remploy factories.”