16 workers share £150,000 pay-off after Stoke-on-Trent City Council shuts Chesterton factory
DISABLED workers shared payouts of more than £150,000 after being made redundant from a council-run factory.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council shut loss-making Newpak Products after sales slumped and attempts to sell it collapsed.
New figures show £153,750 was paid out in settlements to 16 workers.
A further £5,000 was spent on a failed marketing campaign to attract a buyer.
Call WHITEGATES Today 01782 209935 ..Limited offer. Available only up on production of voucher. Sell your home for £399 plus vat.* #EPC is required to market your home not included in offer.
Terms: *Upfront payment, non-refundable in the event of property remaining unsold, being withdrawn from the market or being sold by another agent, yourself or by any other means.#EPC £62.50 plus vat
Contact: 01782 209 935
Valid until: Thursday, July 04 2013
Critics today claimed the money should have been spent on modernising the business and keeping the factory open.
It comes as disabled workers prepare for the closure of at least 27 of Remploy's 54 factories, including 114 workers at the Trentham Lakes plant, due to Government cuts.
Pam Tinsley, secretary of the North Staffordshire Trades Union Council, said: "Where they expect people to go I don't know. There are no jobs even for people without disabilities.
"I'm terrified for the vulnerable people who are going to be dumped with no support."
The Chesterton factory was run as a joint venture between the city council and Staffordshire County Council. But the county council withdrew its £100,000 subsidy as losses mounted, and the city council shut the factory in December when faced with an annual bill of up to £250,000.
County councillor Dylis Cornes, a member of the opposition Liberal Democrat group, said: "I have every sympathy with people who find themselves out of work, both able-bodied and disabled.
"As a council we should be doing everything we can to enable people to stay in work when they have a job."
Newpak produced plastic-based products like wallets and folders aimed at schools and colleges.
The factory was created by the county council in the early 1990s but was funded by both authorities after the city council became a unitary authority in 1997.
The city council said workers were given advice on training opportunities and seven have found new jobs.
Councillor Gwen Hassall, cabinet member for social care, said: "We tested the market to see if any interested parties were available to take over Newpak as a business.
"There was number of approaches and we explored each one to make sure the strategies were appropriate to take the business forward. We were in talks with one potential buyer but no agreement could be reached."
Money for the council's redundancy programme has been borrowed from its cash reserves.