Monday, 16 April 2012

Join the campaign to save the Remploy factory in Penzance

Campaigners from Penwith Anti-Cuts Alliance were out in force on Saturday at the bottom of Causeway Head in Penzance collecting signatures on a petition to stop the closure of Remploy factories, including the one in Longrock near Penzance.

Remploy is the largest and the oldest employer of disabled people in Britain. It is not only a workplace but a way of life for thousands of disabled people who want sustainable employment of their choice. Employees now face the threat of closure with little prospect of a job elsewhere.

Shoppers were angry at the way people with disabilities are being targeted by the Tory-led government, not only losing their jobs through the planned closure of Remploy, but also losing benefits as a result of the Welfare Reform Act. Around 400 people signed the petition in less than two hours, about the same amount that had signed it the previous week.

The petitioners were joined by Colin Grey, the GMB trade union rep. at the Longrock Remploy factory. Colin said: “Remploy in employing us, gives us dignity, a living wage, a reason to get up in the morning, support not only at work but in our personal lives, and most of all, a life. We have for many years worked for a living and not stayed at home on benefits as most, if not all, could have.

“To take Remploy away would subject many, many hundreds to live on benefits and never work again, and to languish in poverty and despair. I urge all to do what they can to stop this government making a huge mistake in destroying Remploy, because when it’s gone, it’s gone.”

The Golowan Band were also at the bottom of Causeway Head on Saturday, raising money and looking for volunteers for this year’s Golowan Festival. Many of the band members signed the petition and the band agreed to support the campaign. Penwith Anti-Cuts Alliance deplores the cut in funding they are facing with all funding from Penwith Town Council being withdrawn from next year. A spokesperson said “This is a community event. It brings cheer and revenue into the town. We need to keep the spirit of Golowan alive.”

Penwith Anti-Cuts Alliance have organised a public meeting on the issue of the planned closure of the Remploy factories on Tuesday 1 May at 7pm. It is to be held at the Lugger Hotel on the Promenade in Penzance. Colin Grey and the regional GMB rep. will speak and representatives of Disability Cornwall and Cornwall Disabled People Against the Cuts are expected to speak. Everyone is welcome to come along and have their say.

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