Disabled Remploy workers who are part of a supported employment programme could be at risk of losing their jobs because the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is set to refuse to renew a three-year funding agreement.
The funding was awarded to Remploy in 2015 for its Interwork scheme, which was set up in 1998 and currently supports about 100 disabled people in mainstream employment.
Without that funding, many of those jobs could be at risk.
It comes only four years after the hugely controversial closure of the remaining Remploy sheltered factories by the coalition, after it stopped subsidising what was then a government-owned business.
Interwork employees are all disabled people whose employment terms and conditions reflect those of their host employer but who have a Remploy contract of employment.
The aim is for them to eventually become employees of the host company, with access to Remploy employment support.
But Disability News Service has been contacted by one Interwork employee, Sam* – who has asked to remain anonymous – who has been told by a Remploy manager that the DWP funding agreement was “coming to an end”.
He has been told that DWP “has asked Remploy to explore the options relating to Interwork employees on a without prejudice basis with a view to securing sustainable employment for as many employees as possible, ideally with the host employer”.