Monday, 21 November 2011

What's the TUC Doing in the Fight to Protect Disability Rights?

The TUC is already engaged in the struggle against this government's austerity measures, including those directed, most viciously in my view, against disabled people.

Indeed, the 26th March demonstration, which drew over half-a-million people into one of the largest ever protests ever seen on the streets of London was a TUC initiative. On that day, it's estimated that there were probably 20,000 to 25,000 disabled people on the march or at the rally. Someone also spoke on behalf of disabled people at the Hyde Park rally.

On the 11th May, the TUC supported the Hardest Hit march in London; and, again a message of support from Brendan Barber, speaking for the TUC, was sent to the Hardest Hit marches and rallies a few weeks ago on October 22nd.

The TUC is also active in other areas of disability rights; as expected we, with the support of affiliate unions, are pushing for the government to keep open the Remploy factories; we're arguing for an increase in the Access-to-Work budget, pointing out to the government the positive benefits this resource creates; we're strenuously promoting initiatives on the relationship between workplace stress and mental illness, and ways to counter these conditions.

The TUC also promotes Disability Workplace Champions. We're striving for this group of reps to gain the same industrial recognition as shop stewards, H&S reps and ULRs. Reasonable adjustments in the workplace is another area in which we assist our reps.

However, much of our energy is directed at opposing this government's cuts and their plans to dismantle both the NHS and our Welfare System. 

A number of members of the TUC Disability Committee, including its Chair, are supportive of many of the disability organisations and initiatives currently fighting against draconian government policy. They support Hardest Hit, Black Triangle, Disabled People Against the Cuts, as well as being closely associated in fighting against Disability Hate Crime and promoting Disability History Month.

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