Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/15153
Week-long Remploy strike in Chesterfield and Springburn
Workers at Remploy's two healthcare factories - Chesterfield and Springburn, Glasgow - started a week's strike on Monday 3rd September.
Chesterfield GMB steward, Antony North, Carl Chambers and other GMB pickets spoke to Jon Dale.
"For a year we've been trying to get answers from Remploy about the future of the business but have kept being told that was all confidential.
"Yet Simon Webster, who's likely to take us over today, has had his people working in our offices and sitting in on management meetings.
"With all the insecurity 50% of the workforce have been off some time during the past year with stress. But people still stopped with the company out of loyalty to Remploy. Now we've been shafted.
"Under our old terms, anyone with more than two years service made redundant got a year's wages plus £5,000.
"That could be £19,000. But the new terms could see us lose our jobs and get just £1,800. 60-year olds with disabilities will have great difficulty ever finding any other work.
"Webster's first business will probably be to go to court to overturn our terms and conditions and massively reduce them on the grounds that we make a loss.
Yet we sell shoes to him at £15 a pair, which he then sells to the NHS at up to £100. That's why we're making a loss! And selling to the NHS, we shouldn't be profit-making. On top of that, Remploy has given Webster £500,000 in the past year. "
The feeling of pickets was that they've nothing to lose now, and that after this week's strike they should stay out another week.
Send solidarity messages to: GMB Chesterfield firstname.lastname@example.org GMB Springburn Philip.email@example.com.
Donations can be made out to 'GMB' and sent to GMB, Grove Hall, 60 College Grove Rd, Wakefield, WF1 3RN.
Chesterfield strike day two
The second day of the strike action at Chesterfield Remploy shows that determination from the workers is growing, with another successful day of the factory remaining closed.
The picket line was supported by Remploy workers from other sites and Chesterfield Trades Council, who invited the strikers to their meeting last night.
National Shop Stewards Network leaflets calling on all trade unionists to support the fight to keep Remploy open were eagerly snapped up and discussed on the picket line. One worker said: "I agree. What we need is a general strike!".
The strike is gaining publicity, being featured on the regional ITV news last night and reported by the local paper.
The strikers have organised a protest to gain more support from other workers and the community in Chesterfield and the trades council will be holding a street collection to raise money for them.
The march and rally will be taking place on Saturday 8th September at 12.30pm at Chesterfield Town Hall.