Action Group on Remploy

At the meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee last night I was pleased to be able to second the Lord Provost when he moved that an Action Group on Remploy should be set up.  I called for an item to be placed on the agenda on Monday evening about the closure of Remploy.  I am glad that the council's Administration listened to my call and brought forward these proposals.

I think that we, as a council and as a city, should make clear our extreme concern about proposed closure of the Remploy factory in Dundee, as it says in the note, but it is important that we look at practical things that can be done either by the council or others to assist the workforce at Remploy.

On Monday I received an email from the Rev Erik Cramb, who as many people will know is a former Industrial Chaplain in the city; people will also know that Erik is disabled.  In his email Erik said that he speaks from 'personal experience of being a person with a disability fortunate enough to have been able to use my abilities in paid employment.'

He went on, 'As well as income, employment gives a unique sense of self-worth.  Even when the employment is subsidised, there is still the satisfaction of being able to make as much of a contribution to society as you are able.  In terms of purpose in life this is light years away from being unnecessarily stick on benefits without the opportunity to use your abilities.'

Mr Cramb suggest s a few ideas for the future of the future of Remploy and I will be tabling these to ask that the Action Group takes his practical suggestions on board.  A few years ago both Erik and I served on a Corporate Social Responsibility working group of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.  I think that it is safe to say that the actions of Remploy and the UK Government over the last few days leave a lot to be desired in terms of corporate social responsibility.

It was important that the council sent out a clear message which said that we condemn the way in which the closure of Remploy had been handled by the UK Government.  It is now time to look for ways in which the UK Government, the Scottish Government and the City Council along with the workforce and their trade unions, and civic society search for ways to protect the jobs at Remploy.