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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 November, 2003, 14:34 GMT
BlindCraft workers stage strike
BlindCraft worker
Workers say they fear for their job security
Disabled workers at the BlindCraft factory in Edinburgh have said they will intensify strike action if management fails to implement a plan to turn around the company's 2m deficit.

About 70 blind and disabled workers walked out in protest at what they claim is total mismanagement of the firm, which is owned by Edinburgh City Council.

The two-hour stoppage is the first in a series of planned strikes at the plant.

BlindCraft manufactures PVC windows, beds and wire products.

Rescue plan

About 70 of the company's 120-strong workforce have physical and mental disabilities.

Members of the National League of the Blind and Disabled (NLBD) backed industrial action by four-to-one in a ballot last month.

The 200-year-old business, based in the capital's Peffer Place, is operating under a council-approved rescue plan after it ran up debts of 2m.

The ISTC union, which represents disabled employees, has been in talks with Edinburgh City Council.

Kingsley Thomas
Let's get round the table with all involved to ensure that we can move forward and make the factory the success which we know it can be
Kingsley Thomas
Edinburgh City Council
But the union's Steve McCool said assurances about the future of the workforce had not been forthcoming.

Mr McCool said: "The business plan hasn't been implemented properly, management have failed, not only in terms of the business plan, but also their day-to-day dealings with disabled workers.

"There's elements of bullying, harassment and basically lack of respect at the workplace."

But the council claims it has responded to the issues surrounding the business plan.

Councillor Kingsley Thomas said: "I hope our customers and I hope all the other authorities that work with BlindCraft share the confidence we have in the future of the factory.

"Let's get round the table with all involved to ensure that we can move forward and make the factory the success which we know it can be."


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Scotland's Nina MacLeod
"The workers say they want to see real change"



SEE ALSO:
BlindCraft workers vote to strike
24 Oct 03  |  Scotland
BlindCraft rescue gets backing
23 Sep 03  |  Scotland
Future in balance for BlindCraft
22 Sep 03  |  Scotland


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