Burnley Remploy workers face redundancy

PROTEST: Staff outside Remploy in Burnley.'Photo Ben Parsons
PROTEST: Staff outside Remploy in Burnley.'Photo Ben Parsons

DISABLED workers fear they will be left on the scrap heap if plans go ahead to close their Burnley factory.

Staff at Remploy Packaging, which provides work for disabled people, could be among 2,500 workers facing redundancy at 54 sites nationwide if the Government pulls the plug on public funding.

Employees at the Accrington Road site have now launched a protest against the plans which are under consultation before a final decision is made in October.

The Sayce Report put forward recommendations to move resources away from disabled workers in manufacturing towards getting them into mainstream employment.

But disabled workers in Burnley said the report ignores their needs and many fear they may never find another job.

Kevin Wright, of Remploy Burnley, said: “In the Sayce Report there is references to how disabled people feel but there are no references to anyone who works for Remploy. There are a lot of misconceptions. We are trying to get the people involved in the consultation to realise the people at the Remploy factory don’t want to be put on the scrap heap and be put out of work.

“There are some people who have worked here for more than 30 years and with their disabilities they would not stand a chance of getting another job. They fear they will be just left to stagnate at home on benefits.

“Remploy to them is like a second home. It is friendly but it is also disabled friendly.”

In March the workforce at Burnley was cut from 41 to 26 through voluntary redundancy which bosses put down to the decline in the manufacturing sector and economic difficulties caused by the recession.

But the outcome of the Sayce Report consultation could spell the end for the remaining staff at the plant which produces packaging for companies including Jaguar Land Rover.

Closure could also mean scores of young disabled people from the area will be unable to take part in work experience and training courses at the Accrington Road factory.

Mr Wright said: “There will be a huge knock-on effect. Not just on our customers but for young people who come in from colleges to experience what it is like to get into the work stream. We are fighting for them and for the people who have jobs at Remploy and want to remain in employment.

“It will be a big blow for Burnley if Remploy closes.”

Mr Wright added staff are looking to drum up public support to save the factory.