The decision to close the Chesterfield Remploy facility with the loss of 64 jobs – 54 of which are for disabled people – is an attack on some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
Remploy was initially set up in 1946 to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities, many of them injured servicemen returning from the war.
This week we saw the government sack 1,752 people across the country, with the Chesterfield facility included as one of the 36 factories to close.
Rather than putting more disabled workers on the dole, the government should be using EU procurement rules that allow supported manufacturing jobs for disabled workers. Not enough public bodies were placing orders with Remploy leading to a lack of work in the factories.
The government should encourage public sector bodies to award contracts to Remploy for work that will provide a sustainable future for the company and its’ workers. The government’s action is a disgrace, and should be immediately withdrawn.
Urgent plans need to be put forward to fully utilise the capabilities that these sites clearly have. They will not though, because they just don’t care about the damage they are doing.