Report, TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee, 17 April 2018

1. TUC Disabled Workers' Conference, 24-25 May, Bournemouth

  • Motions - The Committee agreed to to support all motions and amendments, except:
    • Unison's amendment to Unite's motion on Universal Credit (oppose) - the motion opposes UC; the amendment wants to change this to reforming it
    • POA's motion on mental health discrimination (oppose) - the Committee can not support the Time To Change campaign, as it is run by Mind, which collaborates with the DWP
    • Community's motion on sustainable supported employment (decision deferred) - the motion proposes promoting a particular company as 'best practice' for the employment of disabled people - we need more information before endorsing this
  • Speakers - Paul Novak (TUC) and Marsha de Cordova MP (Shadow Minister for Disabled People) will speak at the conference; there will also be a panel of speakers about key aspects of the United Nations report that condemned the UK government's policies towards disabled people
  • Chairs - Conference sessions will be chaired by Sean McGovern, Janine Booth, Mandy Hudson and Tony Sneddon
  • Disabled Workers' Committee report - We will be revising this to make it a report from the Committee rather than the TUC; to include General Council members' (non-)attendance; and to add a section on our subgroups' work
  • Social event - a play about a suffragette, written by one of our Committee members
  • Monitoring - time will be set aside for delegates to fill in their monitoring forms, to encourage a higher response rate
  • Emergency motion - the Committee agreed to submit this emergency motion to Disabled Workers' Conference:


This conference notes:

  • the severe cuts in government funding for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), which came into force in 1 April 2018
  • that Councils / local education authorities are passing on these cuts following budget-setting meetings in March
  • that an increasing number of children are being identified as requiring SEND support, while resources to support them are dwindling
  • that students, parents and others are campaigning against these cuts.

This conference believes that:

  • these cuts will have a significant adverse effect on disabled kids' education and therefore their employment prospects, and on the resources available to education workers to do their jobs
  • austerity cuts are not an economic necessity but a political choice
  • a country that can afford military action, the royal family and tax cuts to the rich can afford to properly fund the education of SEND kids
  • if Councils mobilised against these cuts rather than implementing them, we would have a better chance of defeating them

This conference resolves to:

  • call a national demonstration against SEND cuts in Autumn 2018
  • work with education unions, disabled people's organisations and anti-cuts campaigns in organising this demonstration and other campaigning activity.


2. Working group reports

  • Mental Health - We will be revising the TUC's document, 'Mental health and employment' to make it up-to-date and more in line with the social model of disability, and cover the ways in which workplace cause mental ill-health; we will be meeting with the TUC Young Workers' Committee about its work on mental health, and inviting a speaker from Take the Stress Out of Studying (TSOS) to the first meeting of the new Committee in July
  • Accessible Transport - Work on this has been held up by the gap in staff support at the TUC: my campaign plan will now be circulated around the Committee, and the TUC will arrange a venue and date in the autumn for an Accessible Transport Summit - hopefully, confirmed in time for TUC Disabled Workers' Conference in May.
  • ESA/PIP - The working group is looking into debates about the idea of a Universal Basic Income


3. Britain leaving the EU

The TUC has drafted a briefing on 'Disability Rights: Risks of Brexit' in line with our Conference policy.


4. International events

TUC staff have attended an international event on Disability. The Committee raised that it should be consulted about these events so that elected members may be considered to attend.