2nd Remploy Strike – supported by UCU, Gateshead MP Ian Mearns and many more!

Remploy 26th July 2012


Gateshead MP Ian Mearns (centre) at the Remploy Picket Line, along with Joyce McAndrew (UCU Regional Support Official) and other supporters – including Gateshead Councillors Martin Gannon and Angela Douglas

Workers at Remploy who are members of the GMB and UNITE unions were on strike again today, and one of the picket lines at their factory on Dukesway, Team Valley, Gateshead, was visited by Joyce McAndrew from UCU, Ian Mearns, MP and many others.

The strike is over the threat to closure and the consequent loss of livelihood and more details of the dispute (and the action from last week) can be found here:

Val Scott, Regional Organiser for GMB, is asked what we can do to help:

by sending messages of support through the links of the remploy workers website at www.remployworkers.info follow the links to Facebook and twitter or sign the petition to save remploy factories at www.saveremployfactories.co.uk

Val also tells us about the background to this dispute:

Remploy workers have participated in a ballot for industrial action which was overwhelmingly accepted. There is currently a continuous ban on overtime and 2 days of strike action on Thursday 19th and Thursday 26th July 2012.
There are currently 52 Remploy factories in the UK, 7 of which are based in the Northern Region. We are outraged at the decision taken by the Government to close 27 of the 36 Remploy factories in the phase 1 closure programme which include the factories at Spennymoor, Gateshead, Newcastle, Ashington and Cleator Moor (Sunderland is part of phase 2 and Barrow has a potential buyer).
On Thursday 5th July 2012 the Company announced to the workforce they were considering the alternative business plan submitted by the Consortium of Trade Unions (GMB, Unite, Community and Aspect), and then on Tuesday 10th July 2012  they announced to the workforce the closure of their sites without informing the Trade Unions that formal consultation had been brought to an end. They did not give us the opportunity of making representations on behalf of Remploy workers and had total disregard for the whole consultation process.
The strike action taken by Remploy workers is done on a two fold basis, which includes the disgraceful way they have conducted the consultations in having total disregard of any proposals put forward by the trade Unions, and secondly the package on offer to disabled workers has been significantly reduced from the Voluntary package on offer in 2011 which will mean those workers compulsory redundant who are highly unlikely to secure alternative employment in the current climate are at least £5,000 worse off.

UCU sent doughnuts to the picket line at Team Valley, which seemed to go down well, according to Ian Mearns’ Twitter feed @IanMearnsMP:

At the factory gate where we have just received a solidarity visit from UCU members bearing doughnutshttps://twitter.com/IanMearnsMP/status/228411217109213184/photo/1