A redundancy settlement worth in excess of £150,000 has been awarded to a group of 16 disabled professionals who lost their jobs at a factory last year.
Newpak Products was closed by Stoke-on-Trent Council on the basis it was consistently making a loss as sales plummeted and attempts to sell it proved unsuccessful, the Staffordshire Sentinel reports.
The site - which was based in Chesterton - was managed jointly by the local authority and Staffordshire County Council, but began struggling financially when the latter body decided to withdraw its subsidy payment of £100,000 to help keep it running.
Losses from the factory subsequently rose sharply and Stoke Council took the decision to close it down in December 2011 on the basis it would have faced an annual bill of around £250,000 to maintain it.
Recently, it emerged that at least half of the 54 Remploy factories - which employ disabled workers - across the UK are set to shut in the near future due to the impact of spending cuts by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat alliance.
And Pam Tinsley, secretary of the North Staffordshire Trades Union Council, indicated that the closure of Newpak in Stoke - which was initially created in the early 1990s - merely acts as another kick in the teeth for such professionals.
"Where they expect people to go I don't know. There are no jobs even for people without disabilities. I'm terrified for the vulnerable people who are going to be dumped with no support," she told the news source.
Meanwhile, county councillor Dylis Cornes, a member of the opposition Liberal Democrat group, explained she has "every sympathy" with the employees, adding: "As a council, we should be doing everything we can to enable people to stay in work when they have a job."
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Posted by Trusha Vyas