'Deplorable' closure of Remploy shocks MPs
POLITICIANS have expressed their disappointment at the decision to close the Port Talbot Remploy factory.
The company has confirmed that no viable bids had been received for its furniture business and as a result the plant based at Baglan Energy Park will close.
Workers at the factory, which has 54 disabled employees, were handed letters giving them one month's notice on Thursday.
Remploy has said employees will now be invited to at least two individual consultation meetings over the next 30 days to discuss the options and the support that will be available to them.
Aberavon MP Dr Hywel Francis said it was "shocking and deplorable decision".
He said: "I intend to speak with Disability Minister, Esther McVey, to urge her once again to listen to my representations and those of my colleague, David Rees AM, to work with the Welsh Government, local management, unions, the local council and the Wales Co-operative Centre to save these vital jobs for disabled people."
Neath MP Peter Hain said it was "desperately disappointing" and was "devastating news".
He said: "At a time when the jobs market is already saturated with four people chasing every vacancy in Neath, Remploy workers are being thrown to the wolves by the Government.
"I will be liaising with management and the trade unions but there is no getting away from the fact that this is a terrible day for Remploy workers."
Swansea-based national trade union convener Les Woodward, who worked at the Swansea Remploy factory for 30 years, said it was an "absolutely horrendous situation". It was in August 2011 when the Swansea factory closed with the loss of more than 40 jobs.
He said: "I feel exactly the same for all the workers in the country who are losing their jobs.
"It has condemned them to the scrap heap.
"In Wales we have got to pay compliments to the Welsh Government as they are doing their best to support the Remploy workers."
A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesman said support would be available.
He added: "All disabled employees at the three factories affected will now be guaranteed tailored support from an £8 million package, including a personal case worker to help with the transition to mainstream employment."
At a Port Talbot Chamber of Trade meeting, traders were informed of the support grants available to them if they took on any of the Remploy workers.