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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Barrow workers facing axe told to run the firm

DISABLED workers facing the axe at Barrow's Remploy factory have been told there is hope for their jobs – but only if they can take over the business and make it viable.

The government plans to set aside £300,000 to help disabled workers take over centres earmarked for the axe, including the Barrow site.

The minister for disabled people, Maria Miller, said the cash – just over £10,000 for each factory facing closure – would pay for lawyers and accountants to advise on rescue proposals.

She added: “We want to encourage as many employees to come forward as possible. This money will help support employees to put together credible bids to safeguard the jobs of disabled people.”

Councillors and Remploy staff gathered signatures for a petition to keep the factory open in Barrow town centre on Friday.

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock has also written to Ms Miller asking for a meeting to discuss the threatened factory.

Mr Woodcock added: “Workers whose livelihood is under threat will want to see that this offer can bring genuine help – they will feel cruelly used if ministers steam ahead to close the Barrow factory as planned.


“Workers and management at Barrow are convinced that the factory has tapped into a viable market. It should be given the chance to succeed.”

The GMB union said £300,000 was nowhere near enough, given that it was just a fraction of the millions the government was taking away from Remploy.

A spokesman added: “To enable these factory sites to become viable, there is a need for a proper programme of funding and a reduction in the massive non-disabled management, which costs up to £20m per year.”

And Barrow team leader Jayne Greenhalgh said the Flass Lane factory would have to operate as a separate entity, as the work they carry out (producing clean air filters for medical use) is too complex for them to enter a cooperate.

She said: “I have heard a cooperative discussed and it isn’t an option for us. This may work for a Remploy site where they do recycling and things like that. But here we operate a complex business where we carry about £80,000 worth of stock.”

The department for work and pensions has described the threatened factories as "unlikely to achieve independent financial viability".

Have your say

Fully agree with the post by C.

The country inherited an unprecedented financial disaster from Labour and austerity measures and other action was and still is needed; the effect on countries failing to take these measures is clear to see.

Closing Remploy is not an austerity measure but a failure to recognise the value and worth of the organisation and of those who work within.

Savings will allegedly be made?

Having made employed "people" unemployed "statistics" the Government intends to put in place measures to find jobs for those affected in mainstream employment. How will it do that?

PACKAGE OF PERSONALISED INDIVIDUALLY TAILORED SUPPORT FOR EVERY DISABLED PERSON AFFECTED TO GET PEOPLE INTO MAINSTREAM EMPLOYMENT

COMMUNITY FUND TO PROVIDE GRANTS TO LOCAL DISABILITY ORGANISATIONS TO HELP

ONE TO ONE SESSIONS WITH EMPLOYEES AND FAMILIES TO OFFER FINANCIAL, WORK AND SKILLS ADVICE

LOCAL RAPID RESPONSE SERVICE TEAMS TO IDENTIFY JOB OPPORTUNITIES

A PERSONAL CASE WORKER TO DEVELOP ACTION PLAN TO IDENTIFY NEEDS

REFERRAL TO MENTORING AND BEFRIENDING SERVICES

PERSONAL BUDGET TO USE ON SERVICES NOT OFFERED BY OTHER FUNDING STREAMS

ACCESS TO OTHER WORK OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH REMPLOY AND JOB CENTRE PLUS

REFERRAL TO LOCAL USER LED ORGANISATIONS TO PROVIDE PERSONAL ASSISTANCE

REFERRAL TO BACK TO WORK SUPPORT SERVICES

And the "financial" cost of this unmitigated disaster? Who knows.

The "human" cost.....too much.

Mrs Miller, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg....I would welcome a complete reversal or rejection of this policy.....as a Conservative Councillor I have to tell you....I support the need to control the finances, to impose austerity measures to clear the debt, to have welfare reform, etc......however, "you are completely wrong to do this to vulnerable people in my town and elsewhere".

Please stop this now and allow those affected the comfort of knowing, not only that their jobs are not at risk but their lifestyles, support programs and friendships are also not destroyed; to do so will devastate their lives.....as a Conservative.....I cannot support this proposal.

Posted by Ray Guselli on 12 May 2012 at 06:58

I agree with Concerned. There's no doubting the current government have had some very difficult decisions to make to rectify the mess they inherited from Labour, but they've gone the wrong way about it. Austerity measures - yes. But if you tighten your belt too much, you cut off the blood supply. They say that they will use the money saved by closing the factories getting disabled people into mainstream work but given the current employment situation who is going to employ a disabled person ahead of an abled bodied person unless there's subsidies involved? This government is either out-of-touch or seriously underhanded. If managed correctly, Remploy (Barrow branch at least) could be profitable, but it seems like they've already been sold down the river (like the pit in Brassed Off). Cameron's a one term PM

Posted by C on 30 April 2012 at 21:05

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