Monday, September 10, 2007

Taxpayers would help fund disabled workers' move to private sector

The government is to offer a £50m sweetener to persuade up to 2,200 disabled workers at 43 state-owned Remploy factories facing closure or merger to take new jobs with Asda, Tesco and other private companies.

I freely admit to not being able to add up once I've run out of fingers and toes, so maybe someone able to count past 20 will be able to help out, but even so this makes no sense to me.

That aside, as far as I can make out, Remploy, which has been assisting people with disabilities to work, primarily in their own factories for over 60 years (formed to provide work for those injured during the Second World War) is now being threatened with closure as it's factories are apparently making a loss. The chief executive of Remploy, Bob Warner claims


"The unions' interest is only in maintaining loss-making factories which cost the taxpayer millions of pounds each year. This would prevent us from helping thousands more disabled people into employment each year."

Of course the unions feel differently and

"keen to preserve manufacturing jobs for the disabled are furious about the offer being made to staff to leave."

So, what's the real issue here? Mr Warner spells it out,

"The key point about this is that the taxpayer will be subsidising the employee and not the employer for any difference in wages. Any subsidy from the taxpayer will be less than the average £20,000 a year paid for a disabled employee in a Remploy factory."

Er, quite. So, factories which apparently have potential profitable contracts are going to close, forcing all employees to to seek lower paid work elsewhere, meaning the balance will be made up by the tax payer. Apparently though this is just fine, wonderful even as the tax payer is paying the additional salary, pension etc to the employee and not employer.

I can't fathom how this is good for anyone. Not the tax payer, not the remploy employees, who are devastated at the loss of their jobs and for many their place of long term employment, and certainly not for British manufacturing, already hit hard in the current world economy. Now, perhaps I'm wrong, and just don't understand the economics of this. I shall ask the Devil if he might be so kind as to help me understand?

Despite being unable to count, I'm blessed with a healthy degree of cynicism, and can't help but feel all this is somehow connected to the the government's desperate drive for Welfare Reform, which as there has been such a stunning lack of understanding of the true barriers and problems faced by those with disabilities wanting to work is set to make an already difficult situation far worse. All that seems to have happened so far is existing jobs are under threat and vast amounts of money have been poured into the creation of job brokers, which as I've previously explained seem to do absolutely nothing other than create lots of jobs for er, those without disabilities.

(If you look at the links in the job broker post you'll see that every one takes you to a different job broker. All doing the same thing. Fuck all. )

4 comments:

Vi vi vi vooom!!!!!!!! said...

Geez, I can understand the upset of these people having to look for lower paid jobs if they are on £20,000. That's bleeding high for a factory job!

But yeah, as a tax payer, struggling to make that kind of money, this will piss a few people off.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

This just doesn't make any sense to me at all Vi, and the more I try and work it out the less sense it makes!

I don't know much about Remploy but do know it's traditionally tended to employ people who are unable to work elsewhere, those with more severe learning difficulties say. I'm astonished to hear salaries are that high. Knowing parents of some adults who've worked in similar jobs to Remploy though all they've ever received is more like a token sum or demeaning type 'pocket money'. So, none of this adds up.

I personally feel this is much more to do with the Welfare Reform Act that's coming through, the govt are determined to get vast numbers of 'disabled' people off benefits and into work, except they've not considered any of the true issues other than a desire to cut the overall benefits bill.

Harry Manchester said...

A salary of £20,000 per annum - I wish! The highest a disabled factory worker can achieve is £12,300 P.A.

The figure of £20,000 represents the cost of running the factory network divided by the number of disabled employees and includes management salaries and all costs. Unfortunately we also have to bear the cost of a top heavy, disfunctional senior management structure and Board of Directors (yet another excessive cost)who have failed us year on year.

Last year Remploy employed 220 first line Managers on average salary of £31,000 P.A, 187 Middle Managers at Remploy on average salary of £41,000 P.A & 16 Senior Managers on average salary of £63,000 P.A. Each of these roles came with a company car or allowance, a laptop computer and mobile phone.

There are only 83 Factories yet
there are 423 Managers above the disabled factory workforce of approximately 5,000. A little top heavy by any standard.

I hope this helps to clarify the situation.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Hello Harry and Welcome :) Thanks for your helpful comments, it does clear up the situation a bit, none of it seemed to add up and I was sure there was more than met the eye, and so there is!
Do please comment again, especially if you have information to add to things like this, I very strongly feel that we disabled people are being given a very raw deal by this current govt in the name of welfare reform. Bendy Girl