Hundreds back petition to save Rainworth factory

A PETITION signed by more than 700 people opposed to the closure of a Rainworth factory employing disabled people has been handed in at County Hall.

Around 35 people working at Sherwood Industries found out earlier this year that Nottinghamshire County Council was considering shutting down the factory, which produces furniture for schools, saying it cost them £830,000 to run last year.

Unison launched a campaign to save the jobs, which are held by residents with a rage of different disabilities, and 726 people have signed a petition opposing the move.

Pete Watson, the union’s adult social care convener, said he had hoped to hand the petition to the cabinet member responsible, Coun Kevin Rostance.

“He redirected us to (Labour councillor) Joyce Bosnjak,” Mr Watson said. “Which was unfortunate because we would have liked to ask him why the council is spending so much on private firms and not supporting Sherwood Industries.

“The response we had to the petition was very good. A lot of people are angry that the council is considering the closure of such a valuable factory which provides employment to a number of skilled staff, most of whom are disabled.”

Mr Watson says staff remain determined to save the site and hope the council will consider at the very least a stay of execution to examine alternatives to closure.

Council service director Caroline Baria said employees at Sherwood Industries had been involved in the consultation period and there had been face-to-face meetings with council officers.

“There has been no formal invitation to the portfolio holder or deputy portfolio holder to take part,” she said.

“However, I am aware that they have both visited Sherwood Industries and met with staff on several occasions in the past.”