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Last Updated: Friday, 9 November 2007, 17:59 GMT
Remploy jobs 'still under threat'
By Gary O'Donoghue
BBC News political correspondent

Remploy workers
Remploy is too heavily subsidised by taxpayers, ministers argue
Up to 2,000 jobs could still be at risk at Remploy - the government-owned manufacturing firm for disabled workers - the BBC has learned.

After unsuccessful negotiations with unions, the company is planning to go ahead with closing 28 factories.

Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain is expected to make a decision about its future within a few weeks.

Ministers say Remploy is costing too much. Unions argue the government is not doing enough to bring in business.

Earlier this year, it was announced that 43 Remploy factories were to close, which brought threats of strikes from the unions.

Rescue package

The Department for Work and Pensions, which oversees the business, ordered a review and Mr Hain announced a 555m rescue package in September.

He added that there would be no compulsory redundancies.

However, the government says each Remploy job involves a 20,000-a-year subsidy from the taxpayer, which they believe is unsustainable.

The company, which would not comment, is planning to deliver a revised business plan to Mr Hain on Monday.

It argues that its efforts should be focused on getting disabled people into open employment rather than running sheltered workshops.

But the GMB, Unite and Community unions believe Remploy's management has failed to attract enough business to keep the factories working at full capacity, and they are critical of the amounts of money spent on managing the business.

They will publish an alternative business plan on Monday, and hold a rally outside Parliament.

The unions are also thought likely to ballot for strike action.

Remploy has more than 6,000 disabled employees in 83 factories around the UK, producing items such as school furniture, protection suits for the police and electronics.

It was set up in 1944 to employ disabled Second World War veterans, with the first factory opening in 1946.

Remploy receives 'rescue package'
25 Sep 07 |  UK Politics
Hain faces anger at closure plans
11 Sep 07 |  UK Politics

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