'I back Tory party demo' - axed Remploy worker
A DISABLED factory worker who lost his job in Swansea has given his backing to a demonstration at the Tory conference today.
Neil Pearce was one of more than 40 disabled people who lost their jobs when the Remploy furniture factory closed at Bruce Road in Fforestfach at the end of August.
The 43-year-old has given his backing to a demonstration which was due to take place at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham.
Members of the GMB union fighting the closure of Remploy factories which have been deemed no longer financially viable were due to demonstrate outside Birmingham's International Convention Centre this morning.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Mr Pearce spent 26 years working at the Remploy factory in Swansea, and said it was heartbreaking when production stopped and jobs were lost.
He now lives in Llanrhidian on Gower and said: "It was very frustrating when the factory closed.
"We put our heart and soul into it. We did work our socks off.
''When it closed so abruptly it was just heart breaking because we put everything into it."
Mr Pearce was a team leader in the machine shop of the factory when it closed and signed on at the Jobcentre on Monday.
He said: "I have always said the market out there is very competitive and being disabled makes you down the pecking order.
''I have started looking for work and there are a few jobs, but a lot of the jobs are away from here in Bridgend and beyond."
The former Remploy worker spends the majority of his time in a wheelchair and said he didn't want workers in Remploy factories still operating to have the same experiences as himself and his colleagues.
He said: "There are still factories open, but it is not looking good for them.
"We don't want them to go through what we went through."
A total of 24 Remploy sites were closed across the UK in August including the site at Fforestfach.
Factories in Leeds, Leicester and Stoke on Trent are also due to close later in the year.
GMB national officer Phil Davies said: "We intend to bring home to Conservative activists the harsh reality of decisions made by this government to close Remploy factories and the cynical way ministers used disabled charities to throw disabled workers out of work."
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "Contrary to what the unions are saying, what we are actually doing is using the £320 million budget — which we have protected — more effectively to get more disabled people into mainstream jobs — the same as everyone else.
"This follows the advice of disability expert Liz Sayce, who showed that support for disabled people should focus on effective schemes like Access to Work, instead of continually losing millions of pounds in segregated facilities like Remploy factories.
"All disabled workers affected by our announcement will benefit from an £8 million package of employment support with a personal case worker and access to a personal budget.
"Workers can also access the expertise of Remploy Employment Services, which despite the difficult economic times over the past two years, has a good record of placing disabled and disadvantaged people into work."
A spokesman for Remploy confirmed manufacturing ceased at the Swansea factory on Thursday August 30.
Around 90 per cent of employees lost their job with a handful staying on to wind down the site.