Disability Equality within the Water Industry

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Conference
2006 Water & Environment Service Group Conference
Date
15 March 2006
Decision

We welcome the changes to legislation passed in April 2005 and

coming into force December 2006. This will impose a new disability equality duty on public bodies. However we are concerned that the water industry may not be covered by the new duties.

We believe these new duties could contribute towards a barrier-free society and provide equality of opportunity for all disabled people who work in our industry, who want to work in our industry and also for those who need public and private services to promote their independent living.

However it appears the government have not fully understood the diverse and complex nature of disability discrimination.

In particular we are concerned that:

1.the duties should be extended to include all sections of the water industry.

2.no extra funding will be made available to remove barriers and further that regulatory requirements including efficiency targets may compromise barrier removal and reduce funding within our sector.

3.employment policies and practices within our sector may adversely affect disabled employees and disabled people seeking work in our industry.

4.self monitoring may compromise compliance with the duties barrier removal.

Therefore we call upon the Water and Environment Service Group Executive to:

a)lobby the government to ensure the water industry is fully covered by the new statutory requirements;

b)work with and lobby all relevant bodies to enable adequate funding;

c)work with all relevant parties to influence and or negotiate good employment practices and the removal of unfair policies and practices within our industry;

d)work with all relevant parties with a view to establishing an open, honest and transparent monitoring system ensuring accountability which will enable our industry to promote disability equality throughout all sections of the industry