Saturday, 12 May 2012
REMPLOY: The Fight Goes On
GFTU staff (in the form of myself, Judith Jackson, and the General Secretary, Doug Nicholls - pictured standing on left) were proud to join REMPLOY staff and supporters at a lobby of Parliament and the DWP offices on Thursday.
Despite the looming closure of REMPLOY factories the Coalition has still offered no credible solution to the likelihood thst staff will lose their jobs and end up on benefit or, worse still, forced through the punative work capability assessment (WCA) into inappropriate work reduced benefit entitlement.
When the WCA was introduced many concerns were raised (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13611298) about the stringent measures used to assess the suitability of applications for incapacity benefit (now re-labelled as employment support allowance (ESA)) and of the particurlarly harsh outcomes for those with a mental health illness.
Despite the acknowledged support of a range of charities for the closure of REMPLOY factories it is an undeniable fact that the bulk of UK employers pointedly (although not explicitly) refuse to hire applicants who disclose a form of disability. This has been the case historically (and in fact was the catalyst for the creation of REMPLOY in the first place) and certainly since the creation of the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act (now embedded within the Equality Act 2010).
The static state of high unemployment for the disabled is captured by the latest assessment of data by poverty.org: At every level of qualification, the proportion of people aged 25 to 49 with a work-limiting disability who lack, but want, paid work is much greater than for those without a disability.
Read the rest of the depressing data here: http://www.poverty.org.uk/45/index.shtml
So, what is to be done? Nothing probably. Despite the economic viability of many of the factories the government refuses to investigates proposals to rescue any. And, in the current economic context, supported by what the data tells us, the prospects of employment for those sacked do not look good.
But, the fight goes on - and I am sure I speak for all of those who look at this blog from time to time, when I say that we are in solidarity with them in their fight.