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2008 National Disabled Members' Conference
1 July 2008
Carried as Amended

This conference applauds the negotiations that UNISON has been involved in through the TUC to secure employment protection for agency workers who are employed for 12 weeks with the same employer.

However, we are concerned that disabled agency workers may face particular disadvantage:

Agencies may perpetuate institutional disability discrimination by not offering temporary positions for contract to disabled applicants

Agency workers are more likely to face barriers in securing Department for Work and Pensions Access to Work packages to enable short term contracts to become accessible to disabled people, this is particularly important in relation to government’s welfare reform actions to get people off benefit and into paid employment.

As many agency workers work in call centres, cleaning and admin etc which are predominantly in women dominated work areas, employers may refuse to take these disabled women agency workers because of the cost and time needed to make reasonable adjustments.

Disabled people may not feel confident that agency work will provide a suitable transitional arrangement from dependency on benefit to paid economic activity.

We call upon the National Disabled Members Committee to produce guidance to support the recruitment of disabled agency workers, this should include:

a)The value of trade union membership

b)Advice about the Access to Work Scheme

c)Reference to the anticipated large number of people expected to work through agencies as personal assistants funded through direct payments.

d) Promotion of benefit protection guidelines