A former Remploy worker has built himself a positive future, setting up his own business.
A private bid to save the Wrexham factory has been rejected by Remploy bosses.
Disabled workers at Remploy sites in Wales take industrial action following a UK Government decision to close or sell-off factories.
The Remploy factory in Port Talbot will close today. It's the last Remploy factory in Britain. Hundreds of jobs have been lost across the UK with the closures. The UK Government has said closures aren't about saving money but getting more people into mainstream work.
The Welsh Government says 117 former Remploy workers have found new jobs using its Employer Support Grant.
The news follows last week's announcement by the UK Government that all the company's sites in Wales will close.
Remploy has announced that its Port Talbot furniture factory is to close, after the deal with its preferred bidder fell through.
Metalliform Holdings Ltd was in negotiations with Remploy to take over its furniture business, but Remploy reopened discussions with other bidders in July. On its website today, Remploy confirmed no viable bidder has been found.
The Remploy Board has given careful consideration to the bids which were assessed for viability on a series of criteria including continued employment of
disabled people, value for money for the taxpayer and the sustainability of the business.
The Board has determined that no viable business bids meeting these criteria were received for the Furniture business and as a result it will close and all its factories will now move to closure.
– Remploy company statement
All 196 employees, including 160 disabled employees, in factories at Blackburn, Sheffield, Neath and the Furniture Business Office remain at risk of compulsory redundancy. They will be invited to at least two individual consultation meetings over the next 30 days to discuss the options and the support that will be available to them.
The company says 'a number of bids' have been received for the assets of the furniture business, which are being assessed.
Remploy says it's received bids for its factories in Porth and Port Talbot. The news comes as the company also announced it's to close a further nine of its factories across the UK. The company, which provides jobs for disabled workers says it hopes to complete the Porth sale by mid-August.
Remploy's been shrinking its business because the Westminster government wants it to operate on a commercial basis. Today, the minister for the disabled, Esther McVey, told MPs that the Port Talbot factory "remains in the commercial process". That did not reassure the MP for Neath, Peter Hain.
– Peter Hain MP
Is not the truth that amid all the minister’s spin and management-speak, she is strangling Remploy to death, and there is no prospect of the most vulnerable disabled workers in their 50s who work there all the time getting jobs in mainstream employment? Also, she has given no guarantees ... and nor has the preferred bidder, who is based in Yorkshire, that the Neath Port Talbot site at Baglan will remain open. Can she give a guarantee on that now?
– Minister for the Disabled Esther McVey MP
There was no spin in what I said ... as for his comment about strangling, that is incorrect, too. I would say “liberating”. That is why some of the factories that closed have reopened and we are supporting them as best we can.
The Wales Office said efforts to find jobs for former Remploy workers were having some success.
– Wales Office Minister Stephen Crabb MP
This Government's priority throughout this process has been to safeguard jobs for disabled people. 200 personal case workers have been made available to provide individual support to Remploy workers affected by the changes . Through the tailored nature of this support package, 130 former Remploy workers in Wales have found new work. I welcome the news that a number of high quality bids have been received for the Remploy site in Port Talbot and Porth. Remploy will [have] the aim of protecting as many jobs for disabled employees as possible."
Enterprising Employment Wrexham hopes to build on the skills of the former Remploy workforce, as Rob Shelley explains.
It's extremely exciting to be at the point where setup is coming to an end, and business proper is starting on Monday! says Enterprising Employment's Clive Emery.
Former Remploy workers John and Mark Johnson say they miss old colleagues, but hope the new business will provide more jobs in the future.
Staff at the former Remploy factory at Wrexham are returning to work this lunchtime. The site was closed down last year by the UK Government, but a business man has stepped in to save it.
The new business will trade under the name Enterprising Employment Wrexham.
The Welsh Government has announced that a support programme for workers at Remploy factories in Wales will be extended. They hope it will help those facing redundancy because of UK Government plans to close the remaining Welsh factories.
Last year Ministers in London announced that a number of Remploy plants were to close under 'Phase 1' of their plans. In response the Welsh Government launched the Employer Support Grant to help displaced Remploy workers find new work.
The UK Government is now considering the future of the remaining Remploy plants in Wales under 'Phase 2', including the future of the Porth and Baglan sites. Two hundred workers could potentially be affected.
Welsh Remploy workers say they feel they've been 'thrown on the scrapheap' after the UK Government announced further closure plans, putting 140 more jobs at risk in Porth and Neath.
Six Remploy sites have already closed this year, including Wrexham and Merthyr Tydfil, with the loss of almost 300 jobs. The Bridgend factory will shut in March.
The UK Government argues the money for disabled employment services should be spent more effectively.
The Welsh Government has released a statement following an announcement from the Department for Work & Pensions that 140 Remploy jobs are at risk in Wales.
– Welsh Government spokesperson
We have made it clear we do not believe that closing the factories will improve the lives of disabled people and we will be discussing our objections to DWP's announcement as a matter of urgency.
We have sought to alleviate the impact of closures by introducing a programme of support to help displaced Remploy workers in Wales to find alternative, suitable employment. The programme has already proven to be successful, with a total of 97 employment opportunities already identified, approved and recruitment underway with 26 employers across a range of business sectors.
– Welsh Government spokesperson
The Welsh Government has this morning asked the Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey to devolve the funding, assets, land, buildings and contracts of the two remaining Remploy factories in Wales to the Welsh Government in order to create a viable social enterprise.
The Minister for Education and Skills Leighton Andrews discussed this in a telephone conversation with Ms McVey this morning.