Remploy workers to stage strike
Disabled workers will stage the first of two 24-hour strikes in protest at "hard-hearted" plans to close their factories.
Thousands of staff at 54 Remploy factories across Britain will walk out as part of a union campaign to keep them open. Half the factories face closure by the end of the year, while others face an uncertain future or closure next year under Government plans.
Ministers have argued that the factories are loss-making, and money would be better spent helping individuals find jobs elsewhere.
Unite called on ministers to follow the example of the Welsh Government which has pledged £2.4 million a year for up to four years for employers who give jobs to Remploy workers when the factories in Wales close.
Unite's national officer Sally Kosky said: "We are expecting the vast majority of the workforce across the 54 factories to strike. 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.
"Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith should take a lesson from the Cardiff government, which has shown compassion and practical financial help to keep Remploy workers in jobs for at least four years."
Phil Davies, national officer of the GMB, said: "Disabled people in Remploy have not taken lightly the decision to withdraw their labour. These are workers who do not have large amounts of savings. So for them to sacrifice a day's pay shows the passion with which they are trying to save their jobs.
"The Government is running around like a headless chicken trying to introduce separate schemes of employment support when everybody knows that the economy is in recession and sustainable employment is not available.
"This decision to force the closure of Remploy means that thousands of disabled people and their families will be put into poverty and their health is bound to suffer.
"At the same time as the world's athletes are going for gold, our members will be sent to the dole. What a disgrace, the Government should hang its head in shame. We can assure them that this will not be forgotten." A second strike will be held next Thursday.