Bob Doris, SNP MSP for Glasgow, has welcomed news that full bids are being sought for the Remploy site in North Glasgow, which the UK Government has indicated will otherwise close.
This factory in Springburn is one of three in Scotland which are subject to further consultation with a view to a sale. In the case of Remploy Springburn, this means that at least one potential buyer has expressed a clear interest. Full business plans will be submitted by August 31st, and the outcome of any bid is likely to be revealed in early September. The identity of the interested party or parties, however, remains undisclosed, supposedly on the grounds of commercial confidentiality. In protest at this secrecy, the workforce – who wish their unions to be able to make enquiries into the intentions of any possible future owner – have occupied the staff canteen.
Mr Doris, who has met with the GMB union to discuss the concerns of workers, said: “The news that bids are being sought for the Springburn site will be welcomed by staff who have worked so hard to develop a workplace where disabled workers can thrive. Even under the flawed UK Government criteria, the factory has been shown to be near profitability, so I am not surprised that there have been indications of interest. However, in any sales process, workers at Remploy and their union representatives must be given as much information as possible about potential buyers. I am sure workers and the union are keen to have constructive discussions with all interested parties, something which is currently impossible due to the secrecy in which the process is shrouded.
“Workers deserve better than this. I have written to both the Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller, and the Remploy Chief Executive, Tim Matthews, to see if sense can prevail. No-one is asking for full details of any business plan at this stage: the request is merely that interested parties be named. I believe that commercial confidentiality is a red herring, and I hope that no bidder would object to their name being put in the public domain.
“It is incredibly disappointing to learn of other factory closures, and the Springburn site offers the UK Government an opportunity to learn lessons and apply them elsewhere.
"The Minister has so far chosen to ignore invitations to visit Remploy Springburn. It is now vital that she does so before any decision is made for Glasgow.”