Defend disabled workers, defend jobs
Over 40 workers from the Remploy factories in Porth, Abertillery and Aberdare attended a public meeting along with 20 of their supporters to build the campaign to fight the Con-Dem government's closure programme.
In a lively meeting, Remploy workers spoke from the floor and showed their anger and their determination to fight. "They'll never get me to accept redundancy", said Jeff Hollinshead, plant convenor. "We don't own these jobs. They aren't ours to sell; we are just looking after them for those who come after us".
One worker said, "For a lot of people in this factory, this is more than just a job. It's their whole social life. Without this factory, they'd be lost".
Another explained that 95% of the 2,000 Remploy workers who lost their jobs in 2008 are still out of work. He said, "They want to replace a £21,000 a year job with a few hours stacking shelves in ASDA - and that would be for the lucky ones".
Les Woodward, national trade union convenor on the Remploy Consortium is based at the Swansea plant. He welcomed suggestions that the Welsh government could put procurement work into the Remploy factories. But he warned against any attempts to save the eight plants in Wales by sacrificing the other 46. "We can win this fight", he said, "but we need unity to do that".
Socialist Party members intend to build support through the anti-cuts Campaigns and the NSSN. They will discuss with members of PCS, Unison, the RMT and other unions the potential for campaigning for procurement in their sectors to go to Remploy plants. On 30 November, Remploy workers will be on the trade union demonstrations and all trade unionists need to give them their support.
by Mariam Kamish