Remploy workers’ fears for future

The Remploy factory, which employs local disabled people, is under threat of closure. Jon Trickett is campaigning against the closure.'Dorothy and Stephen Mellor with Coun Sandra Pickin
The Remploy factory, which employs local disabled people, is under threat of closure. Jon Trickett is campaigning against the closure.'Dorothy and Stephen Mellor with Coun Sandra Pickin

A DISABLED couple are facing an uncertain future when the factory they have worked in for decades closes its doors.

Dorothy and Stephen Mellor, of Farm Lane, Fitzwilliam, have worked at the Remploy factory in Pontefract for 31 and 30 years respectively and have been left fearing for their future after plans to close the factory were announced.

Remploy is shutting 36 of its 54 factories nationally after the government cut vital funding. It is expected that the funding will stop in 2012/13, with all the business changes completed by autumn 2013.

The Pontefract factory currently has 27 employees, including 26 disabled people.

Mr and Mrs Mellor, who met and married while working at Remploy, said they were worried about finding another suitable job.

Mrs Mellor, 52, said: “We want to work. It is a good factory with lots of orders. It will be extremely difficult to find another job. This will end up costing the country money.”

Mr Mellor, 56 said: “The last lot of people who were made redundant from Remploy are still on the dole from two years ago. We don’t want that to happen to us. And there are people at the factory who will be in a worse situation than us.”

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett is fighting against the closure of the factory, along with district councillor Sandra Pickin - who supported a motion at Wakefield Council’s meeting last week calling on the government to secure the factory’s future.

Mr Trickett said: “I cannot understand how they can close a factory with a full order book. It is an utter scandal leaving people with their lives wrecked like this.”

Remploy said consultation would be undertaken with its trade unions and the management forums and that it would consider all measures to avoid redundancies.