Remploy Automotive, for example, produces vehicle parts to the tune of £55m a year for carmakers such as Ford, BMW and Honda. This is the biggest Remploy operation with 500 employees at sites in Bridgend, Birmingham, Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby, Jarrow and Huddersfield. The company wins business on purely commercially competitive grounds.
The arguments are primarily about whether separate factories are the best option (and use of government monies) for offering work to those with disabilities or if the organisation should focus on training to enable employment opportunities in other businesses.
I cannot find any comment from the motor industry regarding the value of Remploy Automotive or how it might be affected by the review of operations. However, it appears to be very successful and well regarded as an industry supplier.
What struck me in the current debate is that we are not hearing from those directly affected, the employees and potential employees. Isn’t it patronising for those in public relations to be speaking on behalf of people who could, and should, express their own viewpoint on this issue?