WORKSOP’S Remploy factory closed its doors for the final time yesterday (Thursday) after 62 years in the town.
Disabled workers lost their battle to keep the Valley Road factory open - despite holding two 24-hour strikes recently to protest against the closure.
And the decision is an even more bitter pill to swallow as it comes while the country is cheering on our athletes in the London Paralympic Games, which started on Wednesday.
Richard Finch worked at Remploy in Worksop for 11 years since suffering two major heart attacks.
Speaking just before this weeks news he said he was disgusted at the government’s proposals to close or sell off 54 factories across the country.
“It’s an absolute disgrace what they are doing. This really breaks my heart - this place has been an absolute god-send to me,” he added.
The Remploy factory in Worksop opened in 1948 and currently employs 12 staff and 18 contracted workers who produce a range of quality products for organisations across the country - from schools and nurseries to hospitals.
In July the Government announced 27 factories will close by the end of the year throwing about 1,700 disabled workers out-of-work.
A further nine factories face an uncertain future, with the remaining 18 sites are due to close or be sold-off next year. Strikes are planned to start on Monday at Remploy’s Chesterfield site.
Bassetlaw MP John Mann, who has been outspoken in his condemnation of the plans, has also slammed the decision.
“Maria Miller, the minister in charge of making this decision, has been supplied with a fully costed proposal that would have created jobs rather than led to losses,” he told the Guardian on Wednesday.
“But she refused to look at it or even to meet with the workers and sit down to discuss it. The site could have been making money for the government and for the tax payer.”
“There is a huge irony with this happening at the start of the Paralympic Games. It is quite disgusting the way Remploy staff have been treated.”
Kevin Hepworth, Unite chair of Remploy Consortium of Trade Unions described last Thursday and Friday as ‘the worst days of this government’s life’.
He added: “To attack the most vulnerable in our society and throw them on the scrap heap is an act against disabled people.”
“There has been no thought about this. This shows the massive divide between those in power and those who cannot defend themselves.”
But Mrs Millar, the Minister for Disabled People, said the Remploy board was proposing to close the sites because they were unlikely to achieve independent financial viability.
She said the £320 million budget for disability employment had been protected, adding that the money will be spent more effectively by helping workers find employment in mainstream jobs.
Are you one of the people in Worksop who have lost their jobs as the result of the Remploy closure? We would like to hear your story.
Call us on 01909 500500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.