Disabled workers in second strike

DISABLED workers will take part in a second 24-hour strike today to protest against the closure of their factory.

Remploy staff in Leeds will take to the picket line from 6am to 6pm after their determined 24-hour strike last Thursday.

The industrial action is to protest against the closure of 27 UK factories including their own, near the White Rose Shopping Centre, as a result of a £68m government funding cut.

Ministers have decided to focus funding on maximising support for disabled people instead of subsidising the specialist factories.

Nicola Murray, team leader at the packaging and distribution factory, said the support they received during last week’s strike was amazing, with every union member joining the picket line.

She said: “The unions did us proud.

“Most staff can’t afford to lose a day’s wage but they know how important the strikes are.”

The picket line outside the factory, in Manor Mill Lane, was visited by the Save Remploy van, which travels around the country, a bagpiper and local councillors.

Employees used a microphone to share their fears about the future and speak out against the closures.

Miss Murray said: “The vibe was very good but it was very emotional for some of them.

“It really made it hit home. A lot of them are scared about losing their homes.”

She added that some workers had now been given their leaving dates, with the factory scheduled to close sometime between September and December.

“Some are very very soon,” she said.

“You can not give the right amount of support in four weeks.

“Four weeks to try and sort your life out. A lot of staff are just bamboozled by it.”

During last week’s nationwide strike, called by the GMB and Unite unions, only 40 per cent of sites were working as usual.

A Remploy spokesman said strike action will do nothing to secure the future jobs of Remploy staff and could harm the 18 remaining factories and the nine factories currentely inviting bids from prospective buyers.