Remploy workers to strike on Monday (22 October) to coincide with public visit by disabilities minister, Esther McVey

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Remploy workers are to take further strike action on Monday (22 October) amid rising concern that potential new owners of key factories plan to de-recognise the unions.

(Pictured: Remploy worker on strike, Glasgow. September 2012)

The action comes as unions have protested that managers have kept staff in the dark ‘for months’ over the future of one of the sites at the centre of a wave of industrial action.

Seven months after the announcement that Remploy’s healthcare division planned to privatise its factory at Springburn, in Glasgow, unions say no decision has been taken on the future of the site.

An email to Remploy executives, seen by UnionNews, accuses managers of ‘colluding’ with one potential buyer for the company’s healthcare factories in Glasgow and Chesterfield, ‘to circumvent TUPE regulation so he can make higher profit at the expense of severely disabled employees.’

The email also says any attempt to de-recognise the trade unions ‘will be resisted by all means at our disposal’.

For some months, unions have expressed concern that bidders for nine Remploy sites earmarked for sale had not given the Department for Work and Pensions any long-term guarantees that the pay, pensions or employment of staff would be protected by the new owners.

Union reps say a number of employees who already have mental health problems are finding the situation especially stressful.

Senior steward in the joint unions consortium, Phil Brannan, said: “The atmosphere is of anger more than anything. People are fizzing mad with the company.

“They just want to find out what’s going on with the factory and their future.”

Workers at four factories in Scotland – Cowdenbeath, Dundee, Leven and Springburn – have confirmed they will take strike action on Monday and will join a lobby of the Scottish Parliament when Disabilities Minister, Esther McVey, holds talks with Scottish government ministers and officials.

Her visit comes in the same week as two Remploy sites north of the border, in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, are scheduled to close.

It emerged yesterday the company had rejected a £120,000 bid to save the jobs of 14 disabled workers by allowing the Aberdeen site to operate as a social enterprise hub for the city.


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