Friday, 16 March 2012

The Remploy Ploy - Part 1

It is a normality to hear about companies closing and jobs being lost in the UK but there is something socially unjust about the closure of Remploy and it doesn't make business sense either. I have been doing alot of research into this and a number of discrepancies occur.

This blog post has been inspired by my friendship with Peter Gordon Smith who works at Remploy Ashington. I have to write this blog post in 3 parts which will be posted over the next few days because there is so much to analyse.

Remploy is actually a British manufacturing firm. From looking at the Remploy website the words 'industrial strategy' come to mind. I heard Vince Cable talking about this at conference last week. In a speech given on 26 October 2011 Mr Cable said that, 'One of the first decisions I took was to put manufacturing at the centre of our long term economic vision.'

In the letter that Mr Cable wrote to David Cameron, which was leaked to the press, he said, 'Second and more controversially, we should be willing to identify British success stories as identified through success in trade and explicitly get behind them at the highest political level..."advanced" manufacturing and related services. For example, the aerospace and automotive sectors are each an important UK success story. Beneath these industries are broad supply chains and key relationships with other growth areas like composites and plastic electronics'.

Remploy makes things for the car, electronics, health, clothing and building industries. This is manufacturing. Computers refurbished by Remploy are exported to Africa. Remploy is involved in enviromentally friendly production. Mr Cable also said in his speech that in the UK there is a decreasing proportion of the supply chains that are local. If you examine the list of products made by Remploy you will see that these are supply chain solutions.

The 36 factories that are going to close have been called 'not commercially viable'. Why isn't procurement being looked at? In fact, Remploy itself states on its website that public bodies can take advantage of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 which allows buyers to support businesses like Remploy.

It is alleged that Remploy management have been turning down commercially viable contracts because they have been planning for the closures. I cannot provide evidence to back this up but a number of my sources tell me this.

I am interested to hear your views.
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4 comments

  1. we don't have a very 'joined-up' approach to the employment of disabled citizens in the UK but needless to say, Remploy's sheltered workshops form an essential component, liberating the disabled from poverty and low self-esteem. It is an organisation that has been allowed to wither away through a mixture of inept management and a lack of political will to promote the brand. That's strange at a time when so many 1000's of injured soldiers are needing to find employment. What is it - a kind of shame - drawing attention to the downside of wars?

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  2. There is more evidence that the closures have been planned for years. Our regional Assembly Member, Peter Black, was shocked at the evidence of managed decline when he visited Remploy Swansea.

    I understand Maria Miller's argument that we need to get more disabled people into the regular workplace and therefore more money should be put into schemes to support that aim. The trouble is that commercial organisations are still wary of taking on new people at present (not helped by the banks' effectively refusing to lend) and that discrimination against people who are different is particularly strong in hard economic times.

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  3. Dear John,
    This year is the paralympics and there is a big show of how disability = ability. The reality is that disabled people are being hit the hardest at this time. Remploy's closure leaves lots of the disabled people unemployed and unable to find other work. I can see no democracy here and this inequality is being covered up.
    From
    Maelo

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  4. Dear Frank,
    WOW! The evidence that you have provided is amazing. It is all very well for Maria Miller to say that disabled people need to be integrated. In the real world disability hate crime is going up and disable people are not catered for. This decision to close Remploy is based on money and not compassion.
    From
    Maelo Manning

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