UNISON’s priorities on disability are led by the union’s own disabled members. We help disabled members by fighting discrimination and campaigning on issues such as:
- improved anti-discrimination legislation;
- negotiating branch disability leave agreements;
- improving inaccessible workplaces;
- replacing information systems that don’t meet disabled people’s access needs;
- eliminating negative attitudes and prejudice from employers, service users and the general public.
The 2010 Equality Act offers a range of protections to disabled people but workplace discrimination still affects many people in England, Scotland and Wales.
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).
Conference arrangements also enable disabled visitors to attend as well as non-disabled people to attend as observers.
If you’d like to get involved, contact your regional officer with responsibility for supporting the regional disabled members group to discuss how you can get involved.
Find out the details of the regional office contact by contacting UNISONdirect on 0800 0 857 857 (voice) or 0800 096 7968 (text).
If you’d like to get involved in fighting for disabled workers’ rights but you’re not yet a UNISON member, find out more about the benefits of joining.