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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 November 2007

Save every Remploy job!

BEFORE THE election that never was, back in September, employment minister Peter Hain backed down on the closure of 43 Remploy factories. Shop stewards told the socialist then: "This is only a lull in the storm. They'll be back for us."

Socialist Party Wales

On 12 November Remploy workers heard that 17 of the factories are to close. Government minister Peter Hain had said that everything would be done to secure public procurement contracts to keep Remploy factories open.

But his only solid promise was that no factories would be closed without direct ministerial approval.

Remploy workers are still awaiting the results of a ballot for strike action. That action was deferred after Hain's announcement. Strike action now is the only way to stop the closures.

A campaign by stewards and union officials has secured public procurement contracts throughout the country. The work is there, but Remploy factories won't be allowed to take those contracts, unless the government has no choice. Remploy factories are the only manufacturing left in the public sector and are a major embarrassment to New Labour's privatisation agenda.

All Remploy factories have been run down over the past five years. Now, it seems that voluntary redundancy will be offered in all 83 factories not just the 17 now up for closure. Some factories could become unviable.

The government has already backed down once. A determined fightback can save every Remploy job and secure employment in Remploy factories for those disabled people who want it into the next generation.

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