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.