GMB says local authorities are deliberately ignoring EU rules that allow them to give contracts to disabled workers

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The deliberate policy of starving Remploy factories of work has rendered them less economic, being only 50% loaded with work because either public bodies have failed to support them with work as allowed under EU rules or their own managers are turning down work, says GMB.

A new survey by GMB shows that a total of 201 councils out of 408 councils in Britain do not provide a single public procurement contract to provide work for disabled workers in Remploy factories, even though they are allowed to do so under EU procurement rules.

GMB has published the full list of the councils and is stepping up the campaign in all parts of the UK to ensure that councils do take advantage of EU rules that will allows them to provide work to the 4,000 disabled workers in the Remploy factories whose jobs are under threat, and is urging members of the public to lobby their local councillors to provide work to Remploy.

Councils in the South East have the highest proportion of its councils not providing work to Remploy while all but one in London and the North East take advantage of the EU rules.

A 100,000 strong signature petition calling on the government to save Remploy factories was presented to 10 Downing Street on Monday.

GMB national secretary Phil Davies said: “We’re calling on all 201 councils that are not taking advantage of the EU rules, that allow them to provide contracts to disabled workers in sheltered company like Remploy, to get a contract to their local Remploy factory as soon as possible.

“The Government is planning to stop funding Remploy and thereby close all remaining 54 factories. The Remploy workers crucial campaign objective is to get the work load up from the current 50% of capacity to 100% and to keep these 54 factories open.

“The deliberate policy of starving Remploy factories of work has rendered them less economic, being only 50% loaded with work because either public bodies have failed to support them with work as allowed under EU rules or their own managers are turning down work.

“Remploy workers want help to get their factories fully loaded. Members of the public can help if they are involved with any of these bodies or can lobby MPs, councillors and others to get them to place work with Remploy.

“These factories have a successful track record going back to 1946 till the public authorities stopped loading them with work in 1990s due to then EU directive. The EU rules have been changed and the factories can be successful again when they are fully loaded. Making uniforms for the armed forces, emergency services and medical staff, and supplying schools would more than keep them busy.”

It would cost Treasury less to keep the factories operating fully loaded rather than putting the workers out of work on benefits. The majority of Remploy workers who lost their jobs in 2008 are still on welfare 3 years later.

 


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