Received from: TUC Disabled Workers Conference
Congress notes the long-awaited July 2021 government disability strategy and is extremely concerned about its abject failure to engage in meaningful dialogue with disabled people and disabled people’s organisations.
Congress believes the strategy lacks ambition, urgency and weight. The strategy does nothing to change society in a way that will meaningfully enhance the life chances of disabled people and will do very little to advance the interests of disabled people.
Many proposals are voluntary, a rehash of previous announcements, or lacking sanctions. There are:
i. no concrete proposals to improve the enforcement of reasonable adjustments in the workplace
ii. no plans for mandatory disability pay gap monitoring, just continued promotion of the voluntary reporting framework
iii. no clear proposals to ensure disability-confident employers must employ disabled people.
Congress notes that:
a. post-16 education is barely mentioned in the 121-page document
b. the strategy does not provide any clear direction on inclusive education, for disabled students to access mainstream education
c. the strategy does nothing to redress the constant erosion of support for post-16 disabled students.
Congress welcomes the disability employment charter, launched in October and backed by a number of trade unions, developed as a response to the inadequacies of the disability strategy. The charter includes:
1. mandatory pay gap monitoring
2. a two-week deadline for reasonable adjustment request responses
3. time off for trade union equality reps
Congress notes that UNISON has made 2022 the year of disabled workers. Initiatives like this can help to raise awareness of the inadequacies of the strategy and the solutions in the charter.
Conference calls on the TUC and TUC Disabled Workers Committee to:
I. demand a change to the National Disability Strategy
II. use the disability employment charter as a tool to campaign for a government disability strategy that delivers for disabled workers
III. support UNISON’s plans to use 2022 the year of disabled workers to publicise the charter.
TUC Disabled Workers Conference