EXCLUSIVE: GMB Remploy organiser calls for a “general strike” against austerity.

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By John Millington

A leading activist involved in the battle to save jobs today at Remploy, called for a general strike against the government’s austerity measures.

Speaking exclusively to the Dreadnaught, GMB national convener Les Woodward said there needed to be a “strategy” to defeat the government’s austerity frenzy.

“There is no silver bullet. Remploy is one part of the jigsaw. But we do need a strategy on how to defeat the austerity measures,” he said.

“In my own personal view a general strike is more than desirable. It is possible.”

He called on the TUC leadership to “get up off its arse” and lead the fightback of affiliated unions.

His comments came on a day when Remploy workers took 24 hours of strike action against closures of 36 factories due to take place at the end of the year.

Some factories are set to close as early as next month.

The national campaign to keep the specialist workplaces open which are designed to allow disabled workers to perform skilled work, has received strong public support and angered many others.

GMB national secretary Phil Davies said: “Disabled people in Remploy have not taken likely the decision to withdraw their labour. These are workers who do not have large amounts of savings. So for them to sacrifice a day’s pay shows the passion with which they have trying to save their jobs.

He slammed ministers for their decision pointing out that many disabled workers will be on the dole during the Olympics.

“This decision to force the close of Remploy means that thousands of disabled people and their families will be put into poverty and their health is bound to suffer,” he warned.

“At the same time as the world’s athletes is going for gold. Our members will be sent to the dole. What a disgrace the government should hang its head in shame. We can assure them that this will not be forgotten.”

Unite Officer Kevin Hepworth, addedWe have been taken aback by the massive support, not just from the trade union movement, but from the general public. We have received hundreds of email and phone calls condemning the government for dealing with the sacking of disabled workers in such a brutal way.

A second day of strike action by Remploy workers is planned for 26th July.


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