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Claps and cheers greet Remploy marchers in Sheffield
On Friday 20 April hundreds of Remploy workers and members of the general public gathered outside Steel City House (DWP head office) in Sheffield to show their opposition to this government's plans to close 36 of the Remploy factories, closely followed by the remaining 17 factories.
This will lead to over 2,000 disabled workers and people with long term health issues, which are a serious barrier to gaining employment, facing the prospect of a lifetime on benefits with no real chance of gaining employment again.
As the local trams and buses blew their horns in support of the campaign the demo moved off from the Steel City House to march to the town hall.
As the march made its way through the town people came out of shops and businesses to clap and cheer, making more and more apparent the public support against this government's barbaric attack on disabled people's jobs.
A public meeting was held at the town hall, where local councillors, MPs and members of the consortium of trade unions (GMB, Unite and Community) spoke.
After a wishy washy start, listening to the platitudes of the MP and councillor and the usual rhetoric with no real substance, the mood of the meeting changed for the better once the union representatives took to the stage.
Phil Davis said that for every day the Remploy workforce were out on strike he would give his day's wages to the fighting fund.
The unions are now much more ready for a fight, compared to the impression that was given before the 90 day consultation started.
The loudest claps and cheers were saved for all who spoke about really fighting to save the Remploy network.
It now feels that a fight for all Remploy jobs will be soon be underway. We need to change this government's course of cuts against the poorest in society.
We now need to gather the support of the general public and we need to win this fight, for the better of all.
Paul Wheelhouse, Remploy GMB member
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 23 April 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.