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Remploy workers face uncertainty as funding is cut
DISABLED workers in York who were guaranteed employment until they were 65 now face an uncertain future because the Government can no longer afford to fund them.
The three workers, who all are based at York Disabled Workers Cooperative in James Street, are paid by Remploy, the government organisation which provides employment to disabled workers in factories around the UK.
On Friday, Remploy admitted it could not uphold a promise made by chairman Ian Russell to workers in 2008 that “as long as you are training for and searching for a job, you would be able to remain a Remploy employee until you are 65.”
A 90-day consultation is currently underway between employers, Remploy bosses and the unions, to find alternative work for workers who face compulsory redundancy as funding is slashed and 36 Remploy factories in the UK face closure.
One of the three affected York workers, 43-year-old Michael Durkin, said it would be devastating to lose his job and said there was no market for disabled workers outside of Remploy.
“There aren’t many jobs out there for disabled workers at the moment,” he said. “I have been on the dole many times before I was at Remploy and I don’t want to go down that road again.”
Mr Durkin works four days a week in the Disabled Worker’s Co-operative’s joinery workshop.
Co-operative founder John Wilson, himself a former Remploy worker, said that without funding, the company could not afford to retain the three workers.
While Remploy declined to provide a statement, a spokeswoman explained that the organisation was in a 90-day minimum consultation process to reduce the risk of people being made redundant.
She said if compulsory redundancies were necessary, the Government had set aside an £8million “package of support” to support disabled workers find jobs.
When asked if the promise of guranteed employment up to the age of 65 for Remploy workers still stood, The Press was told that there was “not the funding in place to subsidise it.”
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