Workers at Remploy have staged the first of two walkouts over the Government's plans to sell or close the fifty- four factories that provide employment and jobs for disabled people, including four sites in the north east.
Workers in the region joined others across the country for a day of mass protests.
More than 150 job losses as Remploy factory closes
More than 150 workers at Remploy factories in the region face job losses after the government confirmed they will close.
The factories at Spennymoor, Gateshead, Newcastle and Ashington in the North East, and the Cleator Moor site in Cumbria will close by the end of the year.
The move has provoked anger from workers and some Labour MPs who've called it a cruel act. But ministers insist that many disability groups now accept that it is no longer appropriate to have segregated workplaces.
An £8 million support programme has been put in place to support those affected.
Unions angry at decision to close Remploy factories
The government has confirmed that four Remploy factories in the North East will close by the end of the year.
The announcement, made in the House of Commons, has been met with anger from worker's Unions who announced last week that they will be holding strike action against the decision.
GMB is very angry with the government’s confirmation today that it will close 27 Remploy factories in the first wave by December with the rest to follow shortly afterwards. To close these factories that employs disabled people in the present economic climate is a sentence to life of unemployment and poverty.
– Phil Davies, GMB National Secretary
It was announced in March that the factories in Ashington, Newcastle, Gateshead and Spennymoor will be affected by closures scheduled to begin in August.
A total of 2800 disabled workers jobs are set to go across the UK - over 150 of those will be in the North East.
Remploy workers will be taking strike action to defend their jobs as the axe is wielded by the government. By taking strike action they are trying to avoid their certain destiny of being chucked on the economic scrapheap. They deserve the support of all trade unionists and the public in Britain.