They claim that disabled workers moving to the private sector following the closure of numerous Remploy factories later this year will be given a considerably lower pension than the one they currently receive.
This is because the Department of Work and Pensions has decided that any company taking over a Remploy business will not have to honour the Fair Deal pension’s legislation, which ensures that a pension of similar value has to be provided, claim the unions Unite and the GMB.
Unite regional officer Kevin Hepworth said: “This is a bombshell for those workers at Remploy factories that will be sold off. This is a cruel blow, hacking away at the retirement incomes of workers with disabilities.
Remploy factories were set up to offer employment to those with disabilities and others with severe barriers to work.
The factories produce a number of goods, from biological protection suits for the police and armed forces to furniture for the UK education sector.
However, last month, the government announced that 27 factories, employing approximately 1,700 disabled people, will close by the end of the year, while 18 sites are due to close or be sold-off in 2013.
Mr Hepworth warned that the decision not to protect former Remploy workers’ pensions may lead to further measures that could ultimately harm the inclusion in the workplace of those with disabilities.
“First of all, their pensions will be attacked and then it will be the pay, and terms and conditions – this is the hard reality of this government’s actions,” he said.
Meanwhile, following two days of strike action by Remploy workers, Phil Davies, GMB national secretary, ruled further industrial action could be to come.
“We are now asking the Remploy workers to discuss the next stage in the campaign. This could include demonstrations in London and other cities in September during the Para-Olympic Games,” he said.