Jobs blow as Burnley Remploy factory to close

The Burnley factory is set to close
The Burnley factory is set to close

Remploy Burnley will finally be shut despite a long-running battle by workers to keep it running.

The Accrington Road packaging plant had survived the axe initially as the Government reviewed 54 Remploy sites nationwide last year.

The loss making Burnley factory was put up for sale by the Government after the Sayce Report recommended redirecting the £320m. budget elsewhere.

But a viable buyer could not be found and now the Burnley factory is set to close along with similar plants in Sunderland, Norwich and Portsmouth.

Workers feared that closing the factory would “leave them on the scrap heap” during protests to save the business.

Burnley Council Leader Julie Cooper said: “It is an appalling and short-sighted decision. I am really shocked about it.

“It is a sad day for Burnley – especially for disabled people who are trying to pay their way.

“I thought the Government wanted people in work? I know they have been subsidising the Remploy factories for some time but it is a positive thing. If people are now going to be out of work with little chance of finding alternative employment and have to rely on the State to survive and make a living, I would rather see people in work and pay subsidies for that.

“I hope Burnley’s MP will be saying quite a lot about in the House of Commons about this – we need him to stand up for us on this.”

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “Our priority throughout this process has been to safeguard jobs, which is why we offered a wage subsidy of up to £6,400 per disabled employee to encourage interested parties to come forward.

“All 24 disabled employees at the factory will now be guaranteed tailored support from an £8m. package, including a personal case worker, to help with the transition to mainstream employment.

“We have protected the disability employment budget in this Parliament, and we are following the advice of an independent review that funding should be focussed more effectively to support disabled people into mainstream jobs instead of subsidising loss-making factories.”

Consultation meetings with staff are expected over the next 30 days to discuss support available.