1. ITV Report

Jobs under threat as Remploy announces factory closures

Remploy announced it is closing more factories Photo: Lewis Stickley/PA wire

Remploy, the company which provides employment for disabled people, has announced it is closing more factories - putting up to 80 jobs in the North West at risk, according to the GMB union.

The GMB say that across the country, 875 employees, including 682 disabled people, have been told they face compulsory redundancy.

The sites at Heywood, Blackburn and Burnley are all under threat.

It comes after hundreds of jobs in the region were axed when the firm announced seven factories were closing in March.

But the Department of Work and Pensions says the GMB's figures are out of date and that many more disabled people affected by the Remploy cuts have found work.

The union GMB said making the announcement three weeks before Christmas was "despicable."

Ministers argue the budget for disabled employment services could be spent more effectively to get employees into mainstream jobs.

A spokesman from the DWP said: "Our priority throughout this process is to safeguard jobs, which is why we are offering a wage subsidy of up to £6,400 per disabled employee to encourage interested parties to come forward.

"We have also been clear from the start that we have protected the £320 million budget for disability employment services.

"But we are following the advice of disability expert Liz Sayce to use the money more effectively to get more disabled people into mainstream jobs - the same as everyone else."

According to the GMB, only 40 of the 1200 employees who have lost their jobs since August have found work.National secretary Phil Davies said: "The others are sitting at home isolated from the rest of society."

The GMB's Phil Davies Credit: Press Association

But a DWP spokesperson said the GMB's figures were out of date. She added: "The unions have got their figures wrong. Unlike the previous Government, we are tracking the destinations of ex-Remploy workers and 129 have already found alternative jobs.

"The Wigan factory has also now re-opened and employed around 10 ex-Remploy workers - 295 indicated that they wished to retire."

The DWP added that of the 1,349 disabled people affected by the factory closures, 865 had expressed an interest in returning to work and are actively using the support package, so just under 15% of those were now in work.

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