Sunday, 27 September 2015

Demo and Rally Against the Cuts and Capping of Access to Work

Yesterday, Saturday 26th September 2015, saw the coming together of around 700 disabled people to protest at the cuts in Access to Work. Deaf workers are particularly hit by the cap on Access to Work; and yesterday they came out in their hundreds to show solidarity with other disabled workers and BSL interpreters also affected by the cuts.

Yesterday's march to Downing Street to deliver a petition calling
 for the government to put a halt to the capping of Access to Work  

In my capacity as Unite Executive and TUC General Council Councillor for disabled workers I would like to thank all those involved in making yesterday a success. So thanks to the National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI), Inclusion London, DPAC, and all others who participated.

I was privileged to be invited to speak at the event. Here is my speech to the rally opposite Downing Street:

Sean McGovern speaking to the rally at Downing Street
“Hello Comrades, I’m Seán McGovern of Unite the Union and the TUC General Council and I bring a message of solidarity from both these bodies.
Comrades, you can always tell when a Tory is lying…his lips are moving.
You can also tell when they’re being disingenuous for that’s when they call taking away our disability benefits and services Welfare Reform.
But the deceit does not stop there.
This Tory government perpetuates its great lie by telling us that the root of our poverty lies in our idleness.
Get a job they say and you will be lifted from the abyss of poverty.
Get a job they say and we will make work pay.
Well Cameron, Duncan-Smith and Osborne lots of us who can work have got jobs.
Indeed Remploy workers had very good jobs until you in your wisdom scrapped them; throwing thousands of hard working disabled people out of work and on to benefits.
Oh, and by the way, Duncan-Smith, whatever happened to the scores of millions you saved when closing down Remploy factories and doing away with Residential Training Courses for disabled people?
You put a measly £15 million into Access to Work over 3-years.
And you have the gall to tell the world you’re serious about getting disabled people into work.
Access to Work is a winner.
For every pound spent on Access to Work the Exchequer recoups £1.48.
This is the goose that lays the golden egg.
But what does this government do?
It puts up barriers to the scheme such as introducing ATOS as the assessing agent.
It overcomplicates the process so that those claiming it spend inordinate amounts of time on bureaucracy.
Not satisfied with making life difficult for us they’ve now placed a cap on Access to Work.
This cap particularly hits deaf people using Access to Work and will restrict their use of qualified interpreters so necessary for them to carry out their jobs.
This government looks after hedge fund managers and merchant bankers who create capital profit, usually for their own ends.
Yet when a highly skilled group of workers such as British Sign Language interpreters demand a decent wage this government fails to recognise the social capital they generate.
Comrades, we call on this government to stop the changes to Access to work for disabled people, their support staff and British Sign Language Interpreters.

Solidarity Comrades!"

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