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Disabled workers at Ayresome Industries, Middlesbrough, devastated at closure threat
DISABLED workers were left in tears after being told their factory could close due to council cuts.
On Monday, Middlesbrough mayor Ray Mallon announced proposals to close the town’s Ayresome Industries factory as part of plans to save £11m in 2013/14s.
The factory, which produces UPVC goods and employs primarily disabled workers, has operated for at least 70 years.
News that it could soon fold has devastated its workforce, some of whom have worked there for more than 40 years.
Margaret Wotherspoon, campaign manager for the workers’ union Communicate, said: “The factory manager told them the news and some did not understand what was going on. When they did, they burst into tears.
"I think it is disgusting that they are picking on people who, because of their disabilities, won’t be able to get work anywhere else.
"Most of them, if not all of them, will end up on benefits. For the ones that live alone, going to work is the only company they get at any time.
"This is their lives, not just work. It will impact on them really badly. I understand the cuts have got to come from somewhere but they should not come from the most vulnerable, we should be protecting them.”
Tom Blenkinsop, Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, compared the workers’ plight to that of Remploy employees.
He said: “These cuts will have disastrous personal impact on many people in Middlesbrough – none more so than the 220 staff who will go and Ayresome Industries employees who, if the abolishment of Remploy factories is anything to go by, will have a near impossible task of finding a new job.”