Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Unite attacks council over BlindCraft uncertainty

Staff at Edinburgh's BlindCraft factory have been told they will have to wait until November before a final decision is made on its future.

The council-funded charity, which employs about 70 members of staff, faces closure as part of cost cuts.

A spokesman for Edinburgh City Council said it was currently losing about £1m a year on the venture.

The Unite union has condemned a move by councillors to begin a 90-day consultation on the factory's future.

BlindCraft, which employs people with special needs, has been operating in Edinburgh since 1793.

However, at a meeting on Thursday, councillors voted to consult on two options, including closure of the factory.

They will also consider whether to remodel it as a training centre.

The decision comes after the council revealed it had to find £90m worth of savings over the next three years.

A spokesman for the authority said: "We need to find ways of helping the organisation to operate on a firmer financial footing whilst achieving savings of £700,000 in 2011/12.

"We have been in discussion with trade unions and staff to try and identify measures to make BlindCraft more sustainable and, now need to enter into a statutory consultation period over the recommended options."

However, the decision has been condemned by the Unite union, who accused the council of losing its "morals and humanity".

Regional officer Gillian McKay said: "The SNP and Lib Dems have clearly indicated that they are prepared to attack even the most vulnerable members of our society.

"The people in need of the most protection have been cast aside.

"Trade unions, as well as the friends and family of BlindCraft workers have had their impassioned pleas ignored."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites