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The Socialist 3 October 2018 |
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Newcastle and Gateshead Remploy workers on the national Remploy strike against closures 19 July 2012, photo Elaine Brunskill (Click to enlarge)
In 2012, Socialist Party members were involved in the strikes by Remploy workers against the Tory coalition government's closure and redundancy programme.
Remploy specialised in employing and finding work for disabled people but was targeted by successive governments for austerity cuts.
In 2008, Brown's Labour government axed 2,000 jobs and 29 factories. The remaining factories were closed in 2013 and the residual company sold to US corporation Maximus in 2015 for an undisclosed sum at the time.
Recently, it has been revealed that this sale was for a knockdown £2 million. But Maximus made profits of £7.1 million from "lossmaking" Remploy in 2016-17, with a dividend payout to shareholders of £2 million over the past two years, according to the Sunday Times. While extracting this profit, a further 100 employees were made redundant.
Maximus also has a finger in the pie of processing work capability assessments for disabled claimants of Employment and Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments.
These notoriously biased tests were so flawed and the results to claimants so cruel, that even the Commons work and pensions committee called for the assessment process to be brought back into the public sector.
In the meantime, Maximus continues to cream in the profits - which doubled in 2017 to £26 million.