Privatisation/Outsourcing and the Equality Duty

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2015 National Disabled Members' Conference
2 July 2015

Conference is aware this Government is eroding the public sector by privatisation and outsourcing. The Post Office; East Coast Mainline; a third of recent NHS contracts; and more recently, over half of the Probation Service, all moving into private hands, not only will this lead to poorer service provision, it will also have a negative impact on equality outcomes for staff.

This is because in these newly privatised sectors only the general equality duty will apply. This will mean that employees with protected characteristics, especially disabled people, will now lose out from the safeguards afforded by the specific duties. In addition, they risk losing or having their reasonable adjustments severely diluted under private sector arrangements which could result in a high proportion of disabled workers losing their jobs.

We call on the UNISON’s Disabled Members National Committee to lobby the government to ensure that all organisations, whether privatised or not, that are delivering a public service, must comply with the specific duties. This will help ensure disabled people currently in employment with the support of reasonable adjustments can continue in secure employment.