Monday, 15 November 2010

Join the Blindcraft lobby

Workers from the Blindcraft bed factory in Craigmillar will be lobbying
Edinburgh City Council on Thursday morning in protest at plans to close the
facility and sack 70 people. Blindcraft employs people with visual
impairment and other disabilities. The company has suffered falling sales in
recent years as the recession bites and fewer beds and mattresses are being
bought. They have enjoyed considerable funding support from the City
Council. However this year the Lib Dem/SNP Coalition wants to cut £750,000
from Blindcraft's budget. This would leave them unable to trade. A Council
report, to be considered on Thursday, will recommend closure of the factory
and sacking all 70 employees.
I visited the factory in Peffer Place, Craigmillar, on Friday and spoke to
Marlene and Nicky who work in the sales department. They explained their
anxieties for the future and I pledged the full support of the Scottish
Socialist Party to keeping the place open and saving the nobs. I also
spoke on the telephone to Fraser Queen who is the spokesman for the campaign
to keep the factory open. He has been working for Blindcraft for 22 years.
He explained that some people have been there for more than 40 years. He is
understandably concerned about the future for all 70 employees. His union
'Community' has been busy examining alternative options to closure. He
pointed to the rapidly deteriorating employment market and stressed that
people with disabilities face a far harder chance of securing employment
than most. That's why it is so important these jobs are protected at
I assured Fraser and his colleagues the SSP would help in any way we could.
He welcomed our offer to come along to the City Chambers on Thursday morning
to support their lobby of Councillors and to ensure these jobs are saved.

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