Battle to save Sheffield Remploy factory

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SHEFFIELD’s Remploy factory would require ‘significant restructuring consideration and downsizing’ to be commercially viable and find a buyer, the Government has revealed.

Esther McVey, Minister for Disabled People, made the revelation in the House of Commons after a question from Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield

She said: “The furniture business based in Neath, Sheffield and Blackburn has the potential to be commercially viable but would require significant restructuring consideration and downsizing of its operations.

“Remploy will market this business as a prospective going concern, while recognising that the current trading position of the business may ultimately result in no viable bids being received and that there may therefore be consequential redundancies and factory closures.

“All staff are now at risk of redundancy.”

But James Stribley, regional convenor for the GMB at Remploy, said: “The furniture-making side of the business is running at a loss because the Government is not sending enough procurement contracts our way – the situation could have been avoided.

“Even if the site is sold, we fear heavy job losses. The site at Chesterfield, which is being sold, is set to have 33 of 70 staff made redundant.

“It’s a terrible situation ahead of Christmas.”

Mr Blomfield said: “Some 90 per cent of Remploy workers who have already lost their jobs as a result of the Government’s factory closure programme have not found new jobs.

“This is a tragedy for those workers and it’s why I’m opposing the closure of the Sheffield factory so local workers are not forced on to the dole queue.”

Sheffield South East Labour MP Clive Betts added: “Ms McVey is clearly neither serious about, nor committed to, encouraging opportunities which might deliver the best outcomes for the Remploy business and its employees.”

Remploy has a factory on Brightside Lane, Sheffield, and another on Sheffield Road, Chesterfield.