The Disability Equality Duty

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2006 Energy Service Group Conference
15 March 2006

This Energy Conference welcomes the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 which will impose a new Disability Equality Duty upon energy employers from December 2006. We believe these duties could help reconstruct a barrier free society and provide equality of opportunity for the millions of disabled people who are in work or wanting work but who need accessible water and environment services to promote independent living.

However, we feel that the Government has not fully understood the complex and diverse nature of disability discrimination. In particular we are concerned that:

1.No extra funding will be made available to energy employers to assist them with barrier removal

2.Profit may compromise barrier removal by further reducing the funding available from energy employers

3.Government’s Access to Work funding may not fully meet needs within energy services.

4.Draconian employment policies and practices may adversely affect existing energy employees who are disabled and disabled people seeking work in the Energy Industry.

Therefore, we call upon the Energy Service Group Executive to work with the National Disabled Members Committee to:

A.Raise with employers their new employment related responsibility under the new Disability Equality Duty

B.Lobby energy employers to remove the barriers faced by disabled people to and within energy -related work

C.Negotiate bonus payments for energy staff who have acquired new skills and responsibilities that enable employers to meet their new duties under law

D.Negotiate incentives for disabled energy workers to declare disability status

E.Lobby employers to introduce disability leave policies and as will review existing employment policies to ensure that unfair sickness absence procedures and other punitive practices are removed.