- 2007 National Disabled Members' Conference
- 6 July 2007
This conference congratulates those UNISON branches that have negotiated the UNISON model Disability Leave Agreement with their employers and we commend their efforts to protect our disabled members rights at work. However, we note that many branches are still experiencing difficult negotiations and spending energy and resources persuading employers that their sickness absence policies and procedures are riddled with institutional discrimination which leave disabled employees economic prospects under threat and employers at risk of legal jeopardy under the Disability Discrimination Act, and in particular their responsibilities under the Disability Equality Duty.
This Conference agrees that Disability Leave policies need to be negotiated as a separate condition of service to sickness absence. We believe that disabled people are not sick by virtue of impairment but that from time to time the impact of one’s impairment may give rise to the need to be absent from the workplace. We do not accept that disabled people should face long term unemployment and be forced to live below poverty levels and in isolation, excluded from mainstream society; we believe we should have opportunities go beyond the social and economic barriers imposed upon us.
We call on the NDMC to:
1.Urge all regions to promote the UNISON model Disability Leave agreement and fact sheet to all branches
2.Use the absence of Disability Leave agreements to represent members facing punitive, discriminatory sickness absence procedures by employers
3.Promote our model agreement to other trade unions through our links on the TUC Disability Committee with the aim that other disabled workers enjoy their rights at work
4.Work with the UNISON’s Labour Link to lobby for legislative reform to make provision for Disability Leave.