MORE than 30 jobs are facing the axe at a Sunderland factory which provides work for the disabled.
Staff at Remploy’s Pallion plant were told in December their site was under threat.
Work and Pensions Minister Esther McVey confirmed yesterday that Sunderland was among a number of sites which are to shut.
Ms McVey said 234 disabled people were now at risk of redundancy and would take part in individual consultation with Remploy. Thirty-five people work at the Sunderland site.
“Despite having had considerable interest in the Marine and Frontline Textile businesses at Leven, Cowdenbeath, Stirling, Dundee and Clydebank, Remploy did not receive a best and final offer for these businesses as part of the commercial process,” said Ms McVey.
“Additionally, there are no viable bids for the Packaging business based at Norwich, Portsmouth, Burnley and Sunderland.
“These sites will now move to closure and all 284 employees at the packaging, frontline and marine textiles businesses, including 234 disabled employees will, in line with Remploy’s redundancy procedures, 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.”
GMB representative Val Scott has been working with the Remploy staff.
“I don’t know whether those people are now supposed to spend the rest of their lives on benefits, without the support network that Remploy has provided for them,” she said.
“What a disappointment – all these disabled jobs lost to the area, disabled jobs which we will never, ever get back again.”
Evidence from the closure of other Remploy plants suggested those made redundant would struggle to find new jobs.
She added: “The previous closures have shown people are not finding alternative employment.”
National convenor Les Woodward said: “This is just another nail in the coffin for disabled workers. They are disadvantaged and ignored, and there is no government policy to change that in the future.”