Unions and Labour hit out today at the government's "callous" and disgraceful announcement that hundreds more Remploy workers may be thrown on the scrapheap this Christmas.
A further 875 employees - including 682 disabled people - have been told they face compulsory redundancy, the Department of Work and Pensions confirmed.
Ministers announced this year that a number of Remploy factories would close, arguing that the budget for disabled employment services could be spent more effectively.
Since then 34 factories ceased operations and are in the process of closing, while the future of a further 18 sites remains unclear. today it emerged that workers would be facing potential redundancy at 15 Remploy factories.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "From today, Remploy will invite expressions of interest to take over the running of the remaining factories.
"Our priority throughout this process is to safeguard jobs, which is why we are offering a wage subsidy of up to £6,400 per disabled employee to encourage interested parties to come forward.
"We have also been clear from the start that we have protected the £320 million budget for disability employment services.
"But we are following the advice of disability expert Liz Sayce to use the money more effectively to get more disabled people into mainstream jobs - the same as everyone else."
Labour shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne MP said: "This is a shameful act from a contemptuous government.
"A day after the Autumn Statement in which the claimant count was revised up, David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith have thrown out of work almost 1,000 disabled workers.
"Iain Duncan Smith didn't even have the nerve to come to Parliament to tell MPs face to face. Instead he chose to hide in his office while he was putting disabled workers out of a job. He ought to be ashamed of himself."
Phil Davies of the GMB union, which represents Remploy workers, called it "devastating news" which "gives the lie to the Chancellor's claim in his Autumn Statement today that the vulnerable would be taken care of by the government."
Unite leader Len McCluskey said: "The timing is callous so close to Christmas."
"Ministers had previously said the funding for those sites was secure until August and September next year.
"We call on ministers to stop the closure programme immediately until there is a review and we can see evidence of the much heralded £8m 'help and support package' for those disabled workers already sacked."
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