Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent Remploy workers fear for future job prospects

Remploy workers in Staffordshire fear they will not be able to find work elsewhere if they are made redundant.

Remploy is planning to close its factory in Stoke-on-Trent, which employs 104 disabled people, along with 35 other sites across the country.

Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller said the factories, earmarked for closure by the end of the year, were not financially viable.

One worker said he did not know "where we're going to go."

Neil Box, who has worked for Remploy in the city for almost 20 years, said such a decision had been on the cards for some time.

'Wrong plan'

Mr Box said: "There's people with legs missing, arms... deaf people and there's people who've had accidents. There's really that many different disabilities.

"I feel for where they're going to go. It's very upsetting."

Another employee, Kelvin Frazer from the Middleport area, said: "I'm disabled on one side and I have epileptic fits.

"Where could I get another job outside Remploy?"

The government says any money saved by the closures should be re-invested into other schemes to help disabled people find work.

Labour called the decision "the wrong plan at the wrong time".

Phil Davies, national secretary of the GMB union, has described the government's announcement as "an attack on the most vulnerable members of our society".

Remploy workers are employed in enterprises that vary from furniture and packaging manufacturing to recycling electrical appliances and operating CCTV systems and control rooms.

Some 1,700 jobs are at risk across the UK although 18 factories, including those in Birmingham and Coventry, are to remain open.

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