agreed to my request to set up an action group to try and protect the jobs at Remploy which are threatened by the decision of the Westminster Government to close Remploy. The second meeting of this action group took place this week. It is clear that the council still does not have enough information about the business and that Remploy need to be more forthcoming with information about the business. I think that there could still be hope for a phoenix to emerge from the flames of this business. It is important to support the workers who work at Remploy and who are used to working in that supported environment.
I was glad that the meeting started the process of preparing a business case. A lot of the cards land with the Scottish Government and the Council. They can make or break the future of the Remploy workers reviewing how they award Council contracts. They have the power to put workwear uniform contracts directly to supported workplaces and rescue the Dundee factory. The SNP should use their power to make this happen.
Along with my Labour colleagues on this action group I will give my continuing support to the Lord Provost as he takes this forward.
My colleague Jenny Marra has written a very interesting piece in the Courier where she points out that by using procurement rules in a pro-active way local, and indeed central, government can use their spending power for social goals. In Remploy's case it would be better socially for those employed there to remain in employment and indeed the overall cost to the public purse might mean that it makes more sense to keep them employed. In March of last year when it looked that Remploy Dundee had been reprieved I pointed out just how much procurement matters and this is still very much the case.
I was also pleased to Labour MPs including my colleague Jim McGovern raising the issue of Remploy in the House of Commons. It is important that they are listened to.
In all this discussion about Remploy it is important to remember those workers who are still facing an uncertain future. In the interests of dignity and fairness everyone should be working for a solution which allows the workforce to remain employed - it will not be easy.