Negotiating and Bargaining for Disabled Workers Rights

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2018 National Disabled Members' Conference
6 July 2018

Conference notes that the Equality Act 2010 gives disabled workers the right to reasonable adjustments and the right not to be discriminated against. However these rights are often only made real when UNISON disabled members and UNISON stewards raise these issues with employers through their local representation and bargaining.

For example, the Equality Act Code of Practice gives disability leave as an example of a reasonable adjustment and this has been backed up by the courts. However in many workplaces there is no disability leave policy and disabled workers are forced to take leave that relates to their disability as ordinary sick leave which is then counted towards triggers for instigating formal sickness procedures.

Many employers do not take their duty to provide other reasonable adjustments seriously and as a result disabled workers either do not get the job in the first place or are forced out. Some employers also try to push disabled workers into taking ill health retirement rather than implementing the reasonable adjustments that could keep them in work.

Conference believes that besides compliance with equality legislation being the right thing to do, there are also significant business benefits in having a diverse public service workforce that reflects the communities we serve.

Conference therefore calls on the National Disabled Members Committee to:

a)Raise awareness of existing UNISON resources including the Disability Leave factsheet and model policy and ‘Proving Disability and reasonable Adjustments’.

b)Consider producing a bargaining guide for UNISON branches and stewards negotiating on disability equality in the workplace.