Disabled but Ready and Willing to Defend Jobs
LIVERPOOL makes it to Wembley!
Well, these two big lads did.
Such outsize figures have become familiar on demonstrations by Remploy workers opposing the removal of government work and the threatened closure of sheltered workshops.
It started with workers in the tailoring branch on Merseyside, who make protective wear for emergencies, and found this traffic-stopping way to model their skills and draw attention to their protests.
The other week these two turned up at Brent town hall in Wembley, to cheer and liven up a picket by fellow-GMB and other trade union members protesting plans by the now Liberal Democrat-led Brent council to close Carlyon Print, a council-owned firm in Alperton, Wembley which provides employment for workers with disabilities.
I was there because they asked for support from the Transport and General Workers and other trades unions; and because I used to live in Carlyon Road and every morning on my way to work I would pass the Carlyon workers already waiting outside early, keen to get in and started. Whatever their varied disabilities, ranging from deafness to learning difficulties, they also turn out some skilled work.
The government also says it is keen, to "help" disabled workers into jobs (by cutting their benefits). The Lib Dems in Brent are keen too, to oppose NHS cuts which might put more of a burden on the council to provide services; but neither are half so keen to help people as they are to save money and pass more contracts to the private sector.
The Carlyon Print works has been going for about 25 years, during which it has employed around 30 people, some of whom moved on to other jobs, others have stayed till retirement. If the firm is closed now it will mean 23 workers losing their jobs, and possibly never obtaining other employment. Ten months ago the council in Croydon closed a disabled workplace and 83 disabled workers were thrown onto the benefits system. Ten months later there are still 78 disabled workers out of work.
The other important point made by people who protested at the town hall, including families, is that closure will mean taking away the chance of future skills and employment from youngsters now in school, and yet to find themselves thrown onto the jobs market.
For more on the Carlyon workers fight for their jobs:
Visit the Carlyon Print site itself, and see their work:
Sign online petition supporting the workers against closure: