Workers at Remploy sites in Springburn and Chesterfield are staging a week long strike, from today, Monday 3rd September. Fitting alongside the wider programme of the Coalition Government’s smashing of collective provision, the government announced the closure and scrapping of Remploy factories earlier this summer. Established as part of the welfare state 66 years ago, Remploy was initiated in order to provide working class people who had returned from the Second World War injured and disabled with meaningful and fulfilling work. Of the 54 factories (25 of which closed last month), half are set to close by the end of the year, with 18 to close or be sold off next year, with 9 factories undetermined, throwing thousands of disabled workers onto benefits and into poverty.
For those workers still currently employed the future is equally precarious – the DWP are reckoned to be attempting, via the TUPE employee transfer scheme, to remove safeguards around pension commitments for any workers whose factories find a buyer. There is a strong belief that those buyers will then begin a process of selective redundancies, based on assessments of individual worker’s disabilities, allowing them to secure the most able-bodied of the workforce while pushing the rest to the scrapheap.
Taken together with the DWP’s dispicable arrangement with ATOS, this programme can’t be seen as anything other than the most sickening and brutal attack on the most vulnerable in society; with one hand, actively forcing those unable to work into destitution by the systematic removal of essential life-sustaining financial support, and with the other robbing those who can of jobs, pensions, security and dignity.
As a background to the current dispute, on the 24th August, workers took direct action, occupying the head office of Remploy for four hours in open confrontation with management.
If you are near either sites, please consider showing the strikers in Springburn and Chesterfield solidarity over the days to come – An Injury to One is an Injury to All.
Remploy Workers Site –