Securing the Legacy of the Year of Disabled Workers

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2023 National Delegate Conference
17 February 2023

Conference notes the success of UNISON’s Year of Disabled Workers 2022 and places on record our thanks to all of our disabled members and activists who have driven this success throughout our union. Through the year, we saw renewed focus on the experience of disabled members in our union, in the workplace and in society.

We used the year to highlight the important contribution our disabled members make to the union, to improve terms and conditions for disabled workers and to campaign for improved rights for all disabled workers.

Yet, with the Year of Disabled Workers now over, it is vital that the level of activity from last year does not end as the union moves onto the next initiative. We need to ensure that activism amongst disabled members increases and that disabled members are visible at all levels in our union.

Conference acknowledges that tackling systemic and ingrained discrimination against disabled workers will take more than one year and we need to use the success of the year of disabled workers to continue our work and secure a lasting legacy for our members in all areas of our union.

Conference believes that being disabled is not something to be ashamed of, and in a population where many more millions of people may end up disabled through ageing, accident or illness, we, as a union, need to promote the identity of disabled people as worthy, functioning, and capable members of society who, with the support of reasonable adjustments, are able to lead fulfilling lives both personally and within the workplace.

Disabled adults need to be seen as positive role models so that disabled children can have goals and aspirations, alongside their non-disabled peers, and by reclaiming the words disabled and disability we confront and challenge the negative connotations that many people associate with these words.

Conference therefore instructs the National Executive Council to:

1)Work with regional disabled members groups to fully evaluate the success of the year with an indicator of where activity has taken place and the range of stakeholders involved;

2)Work with regional disabled members groups to establish a programme of activities which build on the achievements of the year;

3)Work with service groups to follow up on the Year of Disabled Worker motions which have been passed by Service Group Conferences to deliver the bargaining agendas for disabled members;

4)Publicise UNISON’s now regular online Disabled Members Officers and Contacts training to all branches and provide monitoring information for regions of attendees based on regions and service groups.