Union negotiators say DWP has ruled any company taking over a Remploy factory will not have to honour ‘Fair Deal’ pensions regulations
Unions have accused Coalition ministers of ‘turning the screws’ on hundreds of Remploy workers by threatening their pensions, on top of the prospect of redundancy.
The latest threat to Remploy workers, whose 54 factories are earmarked for closure or being sold off, is that staff transferred to a private employer will not receive the same level of pension as they currently enjoy.
Union negotiators say the Department of Work and Pensions [DWP] has decided that any company taking over a Remploy business will not have to honour the Fair Deal pensions legislation which ensures that a pension of similar value has to be provided.
Unite regional officer, Kevin Hepworth said: “This is a bombshell for those workers at Remploy factories that will be sold of.
“This is a cruel blow, hacking away at the retirement incomes of workers with disabilities.
“First of all, their pensions will be attacked and then it will be the pay, and terms and conditions – this is the hard reality of this government’s actions.”
Last month, the government announced that 27 factories will close by the end of the year throwing about 1,700 disabled workers out-of-work.
A further nine factories face an uncertain future.
The remaining 18 sites are due to close or be sold-off next year.
Union officials have held a series of meetings with DWP ministers and senior managers at Remploy in an effort to secure a settlement on transferring the pensions and other conditions of staff to any new employers who buy out the factories.
Remploy employees have held two 24-hour strikes recently in a bid to force a government rethink.
A further day of industrial action planned for today has been suspended, as activists prepare for what are expected to be a series of public protests in the run-up to the Paralympics later this month.
Phil Davies, GMB National Secretary, said: “We are now asking the Remploy workers to discuss the next stage in the campaign which could include demonstrations in London and other cities in September.
“Clearly this pension atrocity will also apply to the other 18 sites, plus Employment Services and Close Circuit Television monitoring.”
Campaigners have strongly criticised the silence of the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith in failing to offer any help to the 1,700 Remploy workers facing imminent redundancy.
In contrast, the Welsh Government has pledged £2.4m for employers who give jobs to Remploy workers when the factories in Wales close.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.