Sheffield disabled workers vote on action over factory closures

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DISABLED workers in Sheffield have received ballot papers to vote on industrial action over proposed factory closures.

Unions are urging Remploy staff to fight for their jobs – and redundancy packages – after the Government decided to axe 36 sites, with 1,752 jobs affected, because they were not financially viable.

Chesterfield and Worksop are among the sites earmarked for closure.

Sheffield’s Brightside Lane, which employs 92 disabled and six able-bodied workers making furniture, is to be spared.

But there are over 50 expressions of interest by organisations who wish to buy Remploy factories.

And leaders now have concerns about how redundancies will be made and costs paid.

James Stribley, GMB convenor for Remploy Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, said: “It’s very upsetting and we can’t get any information about which companies these are.

“It’s said they will pick and choose who to make redundant and Remploy is going to fund it.”

Consultation on closing the Chesterfield and Worksop sites, which employ over 70 people, ends on Monday.

A Remploy spokesman said expressions of interest did not mean sites would not close.

Parties must produce business plans – which include the continued employment of disabled people – by June 25 for assessment before formal bids.

Support in the form of a ‘wage subsidy’ and other means may be available to successful bidders, he added.