Valleys Remploy workers ‘angry and upset’ - union

SET TO CLOSE: The Remploy factory in Abertillery

SET TO CLOSE: The Remploy factory in Abertillery

First published in News South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A UNION at a Remploy factory in the Valleys said workers were angry and upset at the announcement to those their workplace.

Mandy Webb, GMB representative at the Abertillery factory, which the government yesterday closed, said she didn't think many of the 21 staff there would get any other work.

Nick Smith, Blaenau Gwent MP, said a decision to shut the Abertillery Remploy factory should be stopped, while Islwyn MP Chris Evans said employees at the Croespenmaen site, which is to remain open, should not be given false hope.

The UK Government announced that 27-loss making sites would close, arguing they could not be subsidised any longer.

Ms Webb said people were upset, angry and numb at the news.

She said workers had thought a business plan for the factory put together by the union to make things for the public sector was a good one, and that she hadn't had thought the government would have shut the whole site down.

Ms Webb said some of the staff cannot travel: "I don't think that some of the staff will be able to get work."

"How can they be so cruel to disabled people?"

She said no staff have been given redundancy packages yet, or a leaving date: "We don't know anything, other than we lost our jobs yesterday."

Mr Smith said the closure will be a "great blow". He said: "With back to work schemes sinking under the weight of spiralling unemployment, the government’s offer of ‘tailored support for up to 18 months’ for the 21 workers at Abertillery will ring hollow.

"The government should ditch plans to put Remploy workers on the dole and back public procurement policies which would give Remploy a viable future.”

Mr Evans said the Croespenmaen factory is staying open but Remploy is in discussion with a number of bidders for it and eight other factories.

Mr Evans: "Although this news will come as a relief for the 44 workers at the Croespenmaen plant, workers still face an uncertain future."

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