Remploy bosses in 'huge bonus' row

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The Independent Online

Directors of a firm which has laid off thousands of disabled workers have been paid "huge" bonuses, it emerged yesterday.

The GMB union said directors at Remploy were paid more than £1.7m in bonuses in 2007-08, an increase of 40 per cent, in the same year as 2,500 workers lost their jobs at the firm.

The union called for an end to the "bonus culture" for directors of Remploy and said money should be spent giving employment to disabled workers.

National officer Phil Davies, speaking at the union's annual conference in Blackpool, said: "This is an absolute outrage and a mis-use of public money. It is time to see an end to the bonus culture for the directors in Remploy and spend the money giving employment to disabled workers as was intended.

"As Remploy went through serious difficulties with closure of workshops and redundancies for disabled workers, the stress and strain this placed on the poor managers and directors saw them award themselves £4,168,598 in bonuses in the three years of crisis and closures between 2005 and 2008.

"That must make the disabled workers who lost their jobs feel warm inside knowing at least the managers and directors did OK."

Remploy was set up in 1945 to provide skilled work for the disabled. Workers make items from school furniture to protection suits.

There was controversy two years ago when it was announced that 22 Remploy factories would be closed and the workers would be found "mainstream" jobs.

A Remploy spokesman said: "Bonus payments are based on individual targets which are performance-related.

"Last year's bonus payments reflect the effort and commitment of Remploy staff... As a result of modernisation, Remploy will, by 2012, be finding mainstream employment for 20,000 people with disabilities and health conditions every year – four times higher than prior to modernisation."

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