Defend disabled members’ right to work

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Conference
2013 Health Care Service Group Conference
Date
13 December 2012
Decision
Carried

This Conference is concerned to learn that there is increasing evidence of sickness management policies and capability procedures being used against disabled UNISON members. Disabled health members are of the view that employer policies and practices such as use of the Bradford Factor fail to reflect absences related to disability and can lead to instances of potential disability discrimination.

According to disabled members’ reports, despite positive statements from NHS employers regarding the employment of disabled people there is scant evidence of regard being given to the good employment practice as set out in the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Statutory Employment Code of Practice in the provision of reasonable adjustments to work-related absence, recruitment and selection, performance appraisal, capability redundancy selection and other procedures. In particular too few employers are able to provide evidence of adequate and appropriate mechanisms for monitoring disabled members’ workforce experience, mechanisms for removing institutional disability discrimination, their initiatives for fair and accessible employment opportunities and other legal responsibilities.

Disabled members agree that there are continued assaults on Agenda for Change that must be fiercely resisted in order that discrimination does not arise between disabled and non-disabled health workers. Zero hours contracts are an example of poor employment terms for disabled workers that create insecure working conditions, abysmal progression opportunities and perpetuate poverty during an era of government welfare reforms and austerity policies.

This Conference calls upon the Health Service Group Executive to:

1)make representations to government about any attempt to weaken provisions under Agenda for Change;

2)issue all health branches with the National Disabled Members Committee’s revised model ‘Disability Leave Agreement’ and guidance on using the Department for Work and Pensions Access to Work Scheme.