Remploy factory at Trentham Lakes closes its doors for final time
A FACTORY which employed dozens of disabled workers has closed its doors for good.
The Government has shut down the Remploy factory at Trentham Lakes after making more than 100 staff redundant.
It comes four years after the company's Newcastle factory was closed down.
The Trentham site is one of 51 Government-funded sites which have now been wound up across the UK as part of controversial Government cuts.
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Workers at the Gordon Banks Drive site had carried out a range of jobs, including assembly work for car companies and book binding.
Production ceased earlier this month and most of the staff have left.
And the building was officially padlocked yesterday before the final employees deserted the site.
The Government is now expected to try to sell off the building to a private bidder.
A spokesman for Remploy said: "At the end of last week the site ceased production and the majority of employees left the business.
"The site was due to close up for the final time just before Christmas, but that has now been brought forward."
However, former employees and union bosses have questioned why the redundancies had to come during the run up to the festive season, when other Remploy workers already made redundant had struggled to find alternative employment in a grim jobs market.
Pam Tinsley, aged 68, of Leek Road, Hanley, who worked at Remploy's former Newcastle plant for 20 years, said: "I think it is absolutely disgraceful and a complete betrayal of the trust of disabled people, who have given their lives to Remploy.
"Most of these people would barely have taken a single day off. And there are no jobs out there for able-bodied people, never mind the disabled."
Unite regional officer Neil Salter said: "We've fought hard to try to keep the factory open and I personally worked closely with the site for almost 20 years.
"I got to know a lot of people working there. It's the end of an era, but also the start of a very sad period of profound problems and hardships for the people who worked there."
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey added: "The timing is callous so close to Christmas.
"It is a cruel decision, given that of those sacked in the first round of closures only about 50 have found new jobs in the last three months.
"We call on ministers to stop the closure programme immediately until there is a review of the shambles of selling-off Remploy sites to commercial interests.
"Cost-cutting is being put before the real needs and employment prospects of disabled workers. It is a disgrace."