Thursday, 2 August 2012

Remploy workers lead resistance to attacks on the sick and disabled

Remploy workers have taken their second day of strike action across Britain to oppose the imminent closure of 27 Remploy factories. Trade unions including Britain's General Union (GMB) and Unite The Union were forced to respond to members call for opposition as longer term plans to close all 54 Remploy factories will see the loss 2,800 jobs. These factories offer employment for people with varying degrees of disability who would otherwise struggle to find work. Adding the finishing parts to engines and packaging products are some of the tasks undertaken by employees.

FRFI supporter Dominic Mulgrew joined the picket line in Netherton Industrial Estate, Motherwell, and spoke to workers about their ongoing struggle.

The shop steward for the factory, James, pointed out that while these cuts are particularly devastating they were nothing new. With voluntary redundancy schemes implemented in 2008 and 2011 the factory has already lost over half its workforce. The adoption of compulsory redundancy with the closure of these factories was the culmination of what had already been taking place. As one of the workers stated 'the Tories are finishing what Labour started...'. His workmate backed this up saying that 'one party are as bad as the other'.

Employed at the factory for the last eighteen years, James, was particularly concerned for the future of 'the young disabled workers' whose chances of finding employment would be set back by the closures. Another worker spoke of how he had worked in the factory, for the last 31 years, almost since leaving school, and about how much the job had meant to him throughout his life.

Despite a significantly lower number of workers on the picket line compared to the previous week’s strike, those who remained, stood tall with their heads held high and were in good spirits. With hoots of encouragement from passing cars and lorries and support from the community the workers were determined not return back to the factory. A local shopkeeper, Nawaz Asuam, visited the picket describing how he had collected over 2,000 signatures in support of their cause; 'Remploy is good for the community...there are enough people out of work around here...this is peoples lives were talking about'.

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! sends its full solidarity to the Remploy workers and urges readers to heed the words of James and the other strikers on the picket line; 'people must support every disabled employee because the cuts are going to affect everyone'.

With more than 80% of the cuts still to come the working class people who today turn their cheeks to the struggle of the sick and disabled, seen as a 'soft target', must understand the need to stand together and fightback as one. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! alongside the Black Triangle and Accord campaign are organising pickets of the Atos centre on Glasgow's Cadogan Street on the last Friday of every month. The governments abuse of the sick and disabled is widespread and so we must combat it in every corner - whether it is standing on the picket lines with Remploy workers or outside Atos buildings in solidarity with disability benefit claimants.

Victory to the Remploy workers!
Picket Atos!

The next picket of Atos will take place on the 31 August, 2-4pm, Corunna House, Cadogan St, Glasgow. Plans for more Anti-Atos work in Glasgow are currently being put in place and a facebook page has been set up 'Glasgow Against-Atos'. To get involved contact 07734348065 or send a facebook message.

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