Sheltered Workshops

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2002 National Disabled Members' Conference
4 July 2002
Carried as Amended

This Conference does not support the principle of sheltered workshops which segregate disabled workers from non-disabled workers. They are often exploitative and increase dependency. However this Conference notes that disabled people who currently work in sheltered workshops would end up out of work and not in mainstream open employment if the workshops were to close. Unemployment does not increase independence or integration. The most pressing need is for workers to receive decent wages and for employment opportunities to be made accessible to all.

This Conference calls upon the National Disabled Members’ Committee to seek support from service groups to:

1)Campaign for resources to be made available to keep sheltered workshops, factories and training centres for the disabled open, until such times as innovative acceptable employment options are available and can be accessed by disabled people;

2)Carry out a recruitment campaign focused on sheltered workshops;

3)Name and shame those sheltered workplaces whose pay and conditions are not on parity with the open marketplace.

4)Seek support from the Affiliated Political Committee to request assistance to campaign for regulations and legislation to cover and improve wages, training and conditions of employment in sheltered workshops that are comparable with mainstream employment.