Welsh Government Must Save Remploy Factories
18th July 2012Remploy workers strike July 19 to keep factories open
Welsh government must intervene to save factories instead of funding loss of jobs
While better than the ConDem's callous closure programme, the Welsh government's offer of £2.4m to assist Remploy workers find alternative employment when the factories close is completely insufficient - Remploy workers are fighting to keep the factories open for future generations of disabled workers.
The Welsh Government has announced with much fanfare, a scheme to support Remploy workers made redundant by the Con-Dem's factory closure programme. Private firms and, possibly, local authorities, will receive subsidies to take on former Remploy workers.
The scheme might help the 183 workers currently threatened with redundancy at the five plants in Wales whose closure have been announced, but the factories would still close. Remploy which has played such a valuable role in our communities since 1946 would be gone for good in those areas. Redundant Remploy workers would find it easier to find new work, but the jobs would still be lost - they would move into jobs that other workers would have had. And the remaining three factories would be under a death sentence.
Instead the Welsh government must step up efforts to save the factories. The UK government has refused to allow the Welsh government to take over the budget for the Welsh factories, but the Welsh government could link with the trade unions and Remploy workers to step up the campaign to demand the funding. If the campaign was taken up with the same fighting determination of the Remploy workers it could force this weak, split Con Dem government to concede the funding.
And the Welsh government could take over the plants and implement the plan proposed by Remploy workers to make the company more efficient by slimming down the bloated Remploy management costs and other genuine efficiencies that would slash the subsidy that Remploy receives from the DWP and keep existing jobs and conditions. If the determination was there then the Welsh government can save the plants.
Socialist Party members and other trade unionists will be taking solidarity to the Remploy picket lines across Wales tomorrow in support of the strike called across the UK to keep the factories open.
Ronnie Job, Secretary of Swansea Trades Council, said "Swansea Socialist Party members will get the views of Remploy workers at the local plant on the scheme tomorrow when we support them on their picket line. Labour-supporting Welsh trade union leaders have hailed this as evidence of the Welsh Government's support for Remploy but it seems a long way short of their earlier promises to back Remploy workers in every way possible to keep their jobs and factories open.
"Remploy workers have jobs, skilled, productive, socially useful jobs in which they are trained and experienced. The vote by a huge majority, to take strike action to defend Remploy is evidence that Remploy workers haven't accepted the proposed closures. Neither have their supporters in Swansea; the Trades Council, anti-cuts campaigners and Swansea Socialist Party members will all be on the picket lines tomorrow to show their support. Come and join us and bring your banners and placards - Bruce Road, Swansea Industrial Park, Fforestfach."