Disabled staff need more workplace support and fairer pay, says UNISON

Closing disabilty gap is key priority for union

More must be done to support disabled workers and ensure they are aware of the help they are entitled to in the workplace, UNISON’s annual disabled members’ conference heard today (Sunday).

In the keynote address at the event in Brighton, assistant general secretary Christina McAnea told delegates from across the UK that eliminating pay discrimination for workers with a disability was a key priority for the union.

Quoting figures from a new survey of disabled members of the union she said: “The preliminary findings make for pretty disappointing reading.

“One third said when they told their employers they were disabled they didn’t get any support.

“Half (50%) said they faced barriers to doing their job that could be removed through simple adjustments. Two thirds (65%) didn’t know they could ask for paid disability leave.

“There is still a huge task for unions to get information out to people, train branch reps in disability-rights issues and bargain to make it easier for workers with disabilities to do their jobs and advance their careers.

“Disability rights is a union issue, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure it’s high on everyone’s agenda.

“There is already a 15% pay gap between workers who have a disability and those that don’t. Fighting to end that pay gap is a top priority.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON’s disability conference takes place from 2 to 4 November at the Brighton Centre in Brighton, East Sussex.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Anthony Barnes T: 0207 121 5255 M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk
Garfield Myrie T: 0207 121 5546 M: 07432 741565 E: g.myrie@unison.co.uk