- 2014 National Disabled Members' Conference
- 3 July 2014
This Conference has grave concerns about the impact of this government’s policies on disabled peopleand we agree that as disabled activists in this union we need to send this strong message out to all political parties in the run up to next year’s election that enough is enough.
Conference notes with concern the impact of welfare reform both on our disabled workers and retired member across all equality strands. An increasingly hostile debate is taking place on applying the squeeze even more. As things become ever more desperate for disabled people we are increasingly being pushed into poverty and destitution. Protection from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 is not upheld by employers and there is evidence of an increasing number of members facing dismissal as a result of capability proceedings. The union is also learning about the plight of some disabled members who are fearful of making their employers aware of their disability for fear of being singled out for discriminatory action. In addition the ability to benefit from independent living funding is under increasing threat and disabled people are desperately seeking alternative means for survival.
One indisputable fact is being raised by UNISON disabled members, the ConDems policies are not the answer, enough is enough
Disabled members who are forced to finish work then find that sham medical assessments are being interpreted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as fit for work. These same members are then refused job seekers allowance because they cannot comply with the requirements of looking for jobs.
The threat to disabled people’s existence is very real with numerous members asking:
How does this government think disabled people will be able to get out of their own beds and look for work when the very fabric of social care has been turned into a quick dollar for greedy bosses?
Why are people considering taking their own lives in desperation because of what the reforms have put them through?
How have we been subjected to the threat to human rights legislation – which is the core of all law that affects the rights of disabled people?
This Conference believes that Unison, through its links with the Labour Party should push for a commitment that the ConDem policies of the previous years are amended or revoked and that dignity and respect is restored through properly funded independent living, a welfare system that’s based on need not profit, and legislative reform to uphold the principle of disability equality for disabled members and disabled citizens of the UK.
Conference therefore calls on the National Disabled Members Committee to:
1)Ensure that UNISON pushes for the labour manifesto for next year’s elections to contain a strong commitment to make real positive change for disabled people that will benefit not only our members but all whose lives are affected by disability.
2)Develop a strong campaign sending a strong message out to all parties that we will not take any more and to consider carefully how to use a vote to improve lives for all.
3)Work with Labour link and utilise the union’s resources to lobby the Labour Party to commit to introducing safeguards to make rights for disabled people work for them.
4)Campaign to highlight the importance of social care in enabling disabled citizens to carry on working