Equalities news

Disability | 16.08.2012

TUC Disabled Workers Conference

A range of issues and motions were raised about the worsening conditions for disabled workers throughout the country, in particular, the closure of Remploy factories by the Government.

Remploy almost exclusively employs people with disabilities. The workplace has sufficient adjustments to allow the workers to carry out work in the manufacture of many items. It’s been a real guiding light showing that with a few adjustments and a bit of common sense, a disability does not exclude anyone from working.

Remploy has also taken on a number of our ex-service people with permanent disabilities resulting from serving our country. However, the current Government holds a diff erent view and wants to put these workers out of a job.

The POA spoke on the issue of prisoners taking on the work of private companies and hoped that no former work from Remploy would re-surface in jails.

Discrimination

Among the motions brought to the Conference were ones about the discrimination that disabled workers still face, reasonable adjustments in the workplace, disability hate crime and media attacks on disabled people. The latter is where all disabled people claiming benefi ts appear to be lumped in with the tiny minority of those people who abuse
the benefi ts system but for some elements of the media; it’s easier to attack all.

I’m pleased to report that our own Committee member, Robert Steadman, was elected to the TUC Disabled Workers Committee. It’s a TUC top table and an important position.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme

An emergency motion was brought regarding the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. This was spoken on by the POA as the changes proposed would remove the lower band for claims which would be detrimental to all victims of crime. As it’s a scheme we regularly use, the change would be detrimental to our members.

The Conference clearly highlighted the challenges we face as trade unionists with those who are disabled in the workplace. We move forward as part of the union movement to include all - but this Government appears to have different ideas.

Stewart McLaughlin
Equalities Committee