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Jobs saved at former Remploy factory in Porth

Across Wales around a third of disabled former Remploy staff have now found new jobs. Credit: PA

Jobs at the former Remploy factory in Porth have been saved after a new business has taken over the site.

E-Cycle Limited have received more than a hundred and twenty thousand pounds in support from the Welsh Government.

Over the last two years the UK Government has announced plans to close the seven Remploy factories in Wales, putting all employees out of work.

But the Welsh Government have set up the Employer Support Grant to offer financial support for employers looking to provide work to eligible disabled Remploy workers.

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Port Talbot Remploy factory to 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.

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.

– Remploy company statement

The company says 'a number of bids' have been received for the assets of the furniture business, which are being assessed.

Buyers found for two Welsh Remploy factories

by Nick Powell

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.

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?

– Peter Hain 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.

– Minister for the Disabled Esther McVey MP

The Wales Office said efforts to find jobs for former Remploy workers were having some success.

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."

– Wales Office Minister Stephen Crabb MP

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Support for Remploy workers extended

Remploy flag
There are still Remploy factories at Porth and Baglan Credit: ITV News

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.

Remploy workers: 'We've been thrown on the scrapheap'

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.

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