Clive Efford joined with workers and trades union officials yesterday to protest at the proposed closure of the Woolwich Remploy factory.
Senior management at Remploy have announced that 43 disabled workers’ factories up and down the country are threatened with closure.
“These factories are a fantastic resource and should not be just thrown away. John Austin and I have written to the government asking them to reject Remploy’s proposals.
Remploy say that the proposals mean that they will be able to help a greater number of disabled people into mainstream work than they currently employ. However, having met with many of the workforce, I am unconvinced that they will all be able to move into mainstream employment.
Instead of closing the factories they should look to use them to help those workers who are capable of finding jobs in the mainstream sector do so, whilst providing support and work for those who are not able to find such jobs.
The senior national managers at Remploy have proved themselves incapable of managing the business competently, failing to attract new business. I have no confidence in their ability to effectively manage their proposed employment agency for the disabled.
Remploy say that they want to merge the factory in Woolwich with one in Barking where the new factory would be located. According to Transport for London the journey from Eltham to Barking takes at least an hour and forty minutes one way, so Remploy are expecting their Woolwich workforce – some of whom are extremely disabled – to travel on public transport for three hours a day.”