Disabled people experience discrimination at work. UNISON challenges discriminatory actions and campaigns for a fair deal for disabled members. Disabled people make up 20% of people of working age, but only 50% of that number are actually in work.
- Disabled people have experienced a total drop in income of £500m since the Emergency Budget of 2010
- Three quarters of disabled people said that losing Disability Living Allowance means they would need more social care support from their local council.
UNISON supports the Social Model of Disability. We believe it is the way society organises that creates barriers to inclusion and prevents disabled people from taking an equal part in life. As a union we campaign on important issues such as:
- Inaccessible workplaces
- Information systems that don’t include disabled people’s access needs
- Negative attitudes and prejudices from employers
UNISON’s priorities on disability are led by the union’s own disabled members. Our union is committed to taking on the issues from those who know them best.
UNISON members campaign and organise at three levels:
- Within the workplace: many of our disabled members are active in the workplace, protecting workers’ rights, advising colleagues and highlighting issues. Some hold the position of branch disability or equality officer, others are branch health and safety reps, branch secretaries, learning reps, treasurers, workplace reps, branch chair etc.
- Regional disabled members groups: each of UNISON’s 12 regions has a disabled members’ group. Each group meets on a regular basis; at its annual general meeting they elect two representatives (at least one of whom must be a woman) to the union’s national disabled members committee.
- National disabled members committee: the national disabled members committee includes 24 regional representatives and disabled representatives of the union’s national disabled Black, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, and deaf members who are native British Sign Language users. The national committee also provides opportunities for other self organised national committees’ disabled co-optees to be involved.
The national disabled members committee organises an annual national conference where disabled branch and regional representatives meet to decide policy proposals and priorities for the year ahead.
These are considered alongside other non-conference matters in the national committee’s work programme that is agreed by the national executive council (NEC).