Recruiting and representing disabled members in the Energy sector

Back to all Motions

2018 Energy Service Group Conference
22 February 2018

Conference notes that recruiting new members is a priority for UNISON. Increasing our density in the Energy sector will increase our bargaining power with management and help us get the best deal for our members at the negotiating table.

Challenges in the Energy sector, such as rolling TUPE programmes, increased use of call centres and outsourcing and offshoring, often hit disabled workers hardest. We need to let these members know that there is a union who understands the issues they face as disabled workers and is willing to stand up for them.

In some cases disabled members’ first experience of UNISON is through their regional self organised group (SOG) which can act as a safe space to discuss workplace experiences of discrimination. It is important that workers in the Energy sector are aware of our SOGs and that, in turn, SOGs can support them to become active in the branch.

Conference notes the UNISON recruitment leaflets “Fighting for Fairness and Equality” (which covers all SOGs and retired and young members) and “Disabled and Worried about the Future?”, both of which are available for branches to order on the UNISON website.

Energy branches can further support disabled members by electing a branch disability officer and by supporting the establishment of a branch disabled members self organised group.

It is also important that our Energy stewards are fully aware of the legal framework and bargaining tools available so that they can better represent disabled members. Conference notes that the following resources are available to download and print from the UNISON website:

1. Reasonable adjustments for disabled workers

2. Disability leave question and answer factsheet

3. Access to Work factsheet

4. Tackling hate crime and hate incidents: a workplace issue

Conference therefore calls on the Energy Service Group Executive to:

a. Encourage Energy branches and regions to include specific recruitment materials aimed at disabled members on recruitment stalls and at local and regional events

b. Promote our Disabled Members SOG, its regional groups and national events and actively work with branches to engage disabled members in their workplaces and to encourage the election of branch disability officers and the establishment of branch disabled members SOGs

c. Raise awareness of the bargaining resources available to support representing and negotiating for disabled members working in the Energy sector.