Proposals to make voluntary redundancies at Remploy factories across Wales have met with stiff opposition from Welsh Labour MEP, Derek Vaughan, who has written to UK Coalition Government ministers asking them to think again.
Remploy operates from a number of sites in Wales including Aberdare, Abertillery, Bridgend, Croespenmaen, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath Port Talbot, Porth, Swansea and Wrexham.
Merthyr born Mr Vaughan, argues that instead of placing hundreds of disabled people on the dole, ministers and Remploy management should take advantage of European rules which allow public bodies to award contracts to organisations such as Remploy outside of the usual legal framework.
"The plans for voluntary redundancies are unnecessarily unfair and unjust.
There has been a complete lack of a clear and coherent strategy for the future of Remploy from the Coalition Government since they took office.
Instead of concentrating their energies on implementing savage cuts to the workforce there, they should be looking at ways that allow Remploy to make the most of the opportunities provided under EU law for them to win public sector contracts that can be awarded in a more socially responsible manner. Public bodies need to be given clear advice and guidance on the flexible paths open to them when it comes to procurement. That way, it should be possible to map out a sustainable and viable way forward for Remploy employees across Wales.
Unfortunately, it seems that they have decided to take the lazy option in all of this and attack the most vulnerable in society yet again.
Workers have real concerns, not only on the plans as they stand but also in the way that they are being brought in.
I have written to the relevant UK Government ministers asking them to think again and to look closely at all the alternatives that would avoid all of this. I am also working with other British MEPs and local AMs and MPs to try and convince Coalition ministers that the full set of options needs to be on the table before any final decisions are made."