'Fight for disabled workers'

Unite delegate Dave Allan slams government disability strategy and makes case for disability employment charter

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Unite delegate Dave Allan seconded a motion on disabled workers at TUC conference on Thursday (October 20) as he outlined how the “government’s disability strategy fails on all fronts”. 

“It was delivered too late; it was not based on any consultation with disabled people or disabled people’s organisations; it has zero ambition and any recommendations it manages to make are only voluntary,” he said.

“It is not worth the paper it’s printed on, and does nothing to answer the needs of the hour,” Dave added.

He went on to highlight how the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people has long remained over 30 per cent. 

“And your colleagues in the TUC equalities department are about to announce figures that are even worse —  the employment gap is now over 30 per cent, and the pay gap between disabled and non-disabled workers is over 20 per cent,” Dave noted.

“The pandemic has only served to make this situation worse, with redundancy rates for disabled workers being far higher than non-disabled workers,” he continued.

Dave explained how the disability employment charter is one of the tools that disabled workers and their organisations will use to fight back.

“It proposes concrete demands to remove the barriers to proper employment with union recognised terms and conditions,” he noted. “That means shining a light, the light of scrutiny, on to large employers who need to publish on an annual basis the data on the number of disabled people that they employ.”

He said that this would include the option to work flexibly from day one, becoming the legal default for all jobs. The charter will also ensure stronger rights for paid disability leave for assessments, rehabilitation and training.

“Congress, that’s the start, just the start, and we’ll develop further,” Dave added.

Urging conference to support the motion, he concluded, “Please fight for disabled workers.”

The motion was carried.

By Hajera Blagg

Pic by Mark Thomas

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