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Cuts and Disability Discrimination : the latest casework and the worsening position of disabled workers. Diana Holland Assistant General Secretary Equalities & Organising Unite the Union. CON-DEMS CONDEMN!. ‘Getting disabled people into work’

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Cuts and Disability Discrimination : the latest casework and the worsening position of disabled workers

Diana Holland

Assistant General Secretary Equalities & Organising

Unite the Union

con dems condemn
CON-DEMS CONDEMN!
  • ‘Getting disabled people into work’
    • At time of global economic crisis, where are the jobs?
    • Jobs disabled workers have more likely to be affected by cuts
    • Services and financial support to disabled workers being reduced just creates poverty
  • Coalition ‘Fairness Test’
    • Impact assessment of all proposed cuts - disability
disabled workers employment rights and civil rights
Disabled workers, employment rights and civil rights
  • Disabled Persons (employment) Act (post-war)
    • Quota 3%
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995
  • Equality Act 2010
moving towards or away from civil rights
Moving towards or away from civil rights?
  • DDA 1995 – now Equality Act 2010
  • Social model recognised and referred to
  • DWP ‘The Coalition government has made firm our commitment to equality for disabled people... Changes are designed to support disabled people into work while providing unconditional support to disabled people who have highest support needs.’
firm commitment cuts driven
‘Firm commitment’? Cuts-driven
  • Disability Living Allowance
    • social model of disability – medical diagnosis being introduced
    • abolished for working age people in state-funded residential care after 28 days
  • Incapacity Benefit – Employment Support Allowance
    • Speeding up assessments – ‘to get people back to work’ – without impact assessment (Mencap)
firm commitment cuts driven1
Firm commitment? Cuts driven
  • Access to Work programme
    • Not listed for cuts, but ...
    • ‘not funding what employer reasonably expected to pay for’
    • Creating new barriers for employers
    • At a time of job insecurity

Poorer families will be affected 6 times as much by announced cuts (Fabian Society)

“Employment and personal responsibility are fundamentally important in tackling poverty” (Lord Freud)

firm commitment cuts driven2
Firm commitment? Cuts driven

Poorer families will be affected 6 times as much by announced cuts (Fabian Society)

Disabled people have a higher rate of poverty. Don Touhig asked about cuts and disabled people living in poverty. Lord Freud’s answer included the phrase :

“Employment and personal responsibility are fundamentally important in tackling poverty”

moving towards or away from civil rights1
Moving towards or away from civil rights?
  • Disabled people are far less likely to be in paid work to start with
  • Are much more likely to be low paid, in temporary, part-time and vulnerable jobs
  • 1 in 3 disabled workers are in the public sector
  • Scope annual survey of disabled people 2009 showed increase in those who had experienced disability discrimination in work and in applying for a job
reality in the workplace recent cases
Reality in the Workplace – recent cases
  • Disabled worker with learning disability in work, thriving, informal ‘buddy’ also union rep; then moved to different working area :
    • Bullied
    • Employer inaction
    • Counter-accusation - disciplinary
    • Absence – signed off by GP
    • SOLUTION? – parent, Access to Work, union, law
reality in the workplace recent cases1
Reality in the workplace – recent cases
  • Employer in private sector making redundancies
  • Redeployment available
  • 3 disabled workers identified as not being able to do the work in new area because of disability, therefore no redeployment offered
  • No reasonable adjustment considered
  • Union rep/disability champion intervened
disability equality at work and in the wider community
Disability Equality at Work and in the wider community
  • Pre-interview questions – new right
  • Discrimination by association and Perceived characteristic – new rights
  • Public sector duty - Impact assessments and disabled workers
  • Redundancy matrices and absence management – ‘sickness’ and disability
  • Keep advancing disability audits, paid disability leave, disabled people fully involved and in union
  • Support 26 March 2011 TUC Rally against cuts
the dda has become the equality act
The DDA has become the Equality Act
  • Protected characteristic = ‘disability’
  • Disability = ‘physical or mental impairment’
  • ‘impairment has a substantial (more than minor or trivial) and long-term (has lasted or to last more than 12 months) adverse effect on ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’(includes if eg medication not taken)
  • ‘Has’ includes ‘has had’ unless stated – recurring conditions included ‘the effect could well happen again’
  • A disabled person is a person who has a disability
the dda has become the equality act1
The DDA has become the Equality Act
  • Prohibited conduct = DIRECT DISCRIMINATION

less favourable treatment

(more favourable treatment of a disabled person is not discrimination)

  • DISCRIMINATION ARISING FROM DISABILITY (arising in consequence of disability and cannot be justified as proportionate means of achieving a legitimate end)
  • DUTY TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS (provision, criterion or practice; physical feature; auxiliary aid inc accessible info
  • INDIRECT DISCRIMINATION (puts at particular disadvantage and cannot be justified ...)
  • COMBINED DISCRIMINATION (future potential?)