GMB and Unite call protest outside conference where author of government report condemning Remploy factories is due to deliver keynote speech

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Remploy workers threatened with compulsory redundancy are to protest at a conference where the government advisor who recommended the closure of dozens of their workplaces is due to speak.

GMB and Unite say the attendance at the Edinburgh conference of Disability Rights UK’s chief executive Liz Sayce is ‘an insult to all those in Scotland who are trying to find employment for disabled people’.

Liz Sayce is author of a report last year, Getting in, staying in and getting on for the Department of Work and Pensions which claimed ‘a total consensus among disabled people’s organisations and charities that the factories were not the model for the 21st Century’.

Unions – and Remploy workers themselves – have repeatedly rejected the report’s central assertions.

Her report is regarded by critics as leading directly to the annoucement earlier this month that the government intends to close 36 of the 54 remaining Remploy sites, threatening compulsory redundancy for 1,752 people.

She is billed as keynote speaker at the annual conference of the British Association for Supported Employment.

Phil Davies, GMB National Secretary said: “Liz Sayce has the bare faced cheek to speak at a conference that is seeking to improve and expand supported employment for disabled people in Scotland when it was her report that may lead to the closure of 7 Remploy factories in Scotland.”

The government has made clear is wants eventually to close of all 54 factories across the UK – from Aberdare and Aberdeen to Worksop and Wrexham.

Kevin Hepworth, Unite Officer with national responsibility for Remploy said: “Liz Sayce  has single-handedly produced a report for the government that condemns thousands of disabled people to a life of poverty.

“She should hang her head in shame and apologise for the stress and anxiety she has created to thousands of disabled people and their families.”

After the conference centre protest, the Remploy workers and supporters plan to hold a second demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament.


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