Debate over disabled jobs labelled a ‘sham’

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UNION leaders have called for a public debate on proposals to close a factory employing disabled people in Rainworth.

Unison is trying to save Sherwood Industries, which produces furniture for school classrooms and supports people with a range of disabilities.

Cash-strapped County Hall has launched a consultation on the possible closure of the factory, claiming it cost taxpayers more than £830,000 last year.

But Pete Watson, Unison social care convenor, says only one side of the story is being heard.

“We need a public debate, not a sham consultation when decisions have already been made,” he said.

“If the council has nothing to hide, let them prove it in public. Some of the people working at Sherwood Industries are in wheelchairs, some are missing limbs and some have learning difficulties. But all have pride in their work and the council wants to take this away from them.”

Caroline Baria, from the council, said a consultation was taking place and no decisions had been taken.

“The council must demonstrate it is getting value for money when ordering furniture, as with any product or service,” she said.

“The council has ordered some office furniture from Sherwood Industries in recent years. However the majority of Sherwood Industries’ product range is for schools. Schools manage their own budgets and are not compelled to purchase from any one particular supplier.”