Reports from Ray Gunnion and Diane Harvey 26th July 2012
There was another large turnout gathered on the Remploy picket line at Springburn, Glasgow on Thursday 26th July. Phil Brannan, shop steward at the plant for 32 years, told us he had been involved in talks with the DWP, Remploy and a representative of the Scottish Parliament. He said that the DWP are solely intent on reducing any future redundancy payments to the lowest level possible. Further talks will take place on August 2nd and, if there is no satisfactory outcome, a further strike will take place on the 6th August.
A lobby of the Scottish Parliament is planned for the 18th August to coincide with a visit from Marie Miller, the Government Minister for Disabled People.
When the picket was well established the Manager of the plant, which produces steel wheelchairs , arrived in his BMW to open the gates. To the astonishment of all, he discovered that the padlock had been super-glued. He quickly exited the scene claiming he would be returning with the police.
As yet there is no sign of a return.
Wishaw, North Lanarkshire
Another healthy picket line at the factory which presently packages Simon Schuster books on contract to Harper Collins. It once employed over fifty workers. This was reduced to thirty-three with the first set of redundancies and there recently followed a further reduction with vouluntary redundancies, now leaving a workforce of twenty-two.
The plant is set to close on the 30th September. However, it is estimated that the workfare will be asked to leave two/three weeks before, leaving five more weeks of work to go.
David Walker (57) and Jim Rooney (51) vented their anger at government policy. David, with learning difficulties, has worked at the plant since he left school and is at a loss as to what his future might hold. Jim, who suffers from diabetes argues that Remploy is not a factory building; it is a group of people who who are losing their jobs and shouldn't be.
For more on Remploy strike action see www.socialistparty.org.uk and www.shopstewards.net