Supervisor hits out at councils' decision to close Chesterton factory Newpak Products
A FORMER supervisor at a closed-down council factory for disabled workers claims more could have been done to save the business.
The Sentinel reported last week how 16 workers shared £154,000 in payouts when Newpak Products was shut.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council, which both ran the Chesterton factory, withdrew their subsidy.
Critics said the money spent on redundancy and a failed campaign to find a new buyer could have been spent on modernising the business.
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Derek Draper, of Harriseahead, who has diabetes and survived four heart attacks, worked as a supervisor at Newpak for 13 years.
Speaking on behalf of the workers, the 61-year-old said: "The council should have done more to keep it going.
"There were 35 workers when I started and the factory was making a profit.
"But in the end they were giving us no attention and it was run into the ground.
"They stopped the reps going out and we couldn't even sell our goods to the council. They were supposed to be supporting us."
Concerns have been raised about employment opportunities for the city's disabled with Remploy, in Trentham Lakes, also facing closure.
Mr Draper added: "I've got no chance. When you mention your illness they just don't want to know."
Stoke-on-Trent City Council, which made the final closure decision after the county council first withdrew its £100,000 subsidy following a sales slump, said it could not afford to run the factory and offered support to workers.