Disabled Burnley workers set for national strike

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Disabled workers from a Burnley factory will start strike action tomorrow over factory closure fears.

Staff from Remploy Burnley will join thousands of others across the country in the first of two strikes in protest at “hard-hearted” factory closures by the Government.

The Accrington Road centre escaped the first round of factory closures which will see 36 of the 54 sites nationwide given the axe by the end of the year with the loss of 1,750 jobs.

But fears are that the Burnley site will be closed in 2013 along with the remaining 17 sites across the UK.

The 24-hour walk-out will start from 6 am tomorrow and will be followed up with further strike action next Thursday.

Sally Kosky, the Unite union’s national officer for the not-for-profit sector, said: “We are expecting the vast majority of the workforce across the 54 factories to strike tomorrow.

“They are rightly angry that they face a bleak future on the dole, as it is always more difficult for those with disabilities to obtain employment.”

Unite union called on the Westminster government to follow the example of the Welsh Government which has pledged £2.4m. for employers who give jobs to Remploy workers when the factories in Wales close.

GMB national secretary, Phil Davies said: “Iain Duncan Smith is systematically destroying lives by his hard-hearted actions. We will continue our campaign by all means at our disposal to reverse this pernicious decision.”

The Government is looking to divert £320m. away from loss-making factories to spend the cash more “effectively”.

When the decision was first made in March, the Minister for Disabled People said that the budget for specialist disability employment services would be protected.

The Government accepted the view of the Sayce Report to “refocus support on individuals through services like Access to Work, rather than institutions like Remploy.”