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Saturday, 14 December

Action to Implement Disability Equality

With nearly half of disabled people not in work, the TUC has published a manifesto to promote equality for disabled people and challenge discrimination against them.

The Labour Force Survey has revealed that 48% of disabled people are currently in employment compared with 79% of non-disabled people which the TUC in its manifesto says must be corrected.

It notes that this particular employment ‘gap’ has persistently been more than 30% since 2008 and with certain groups of disabled faring worse than others. Just 20% of those with learning difficulties, 22% with mental illness or phobias and only 33% of those who suffer from depression or anxiety are in work.

The TUC’s manifesto alleges that progress in reducing the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people has ‘ground to a halt’. It also highlights reluctance from some employers to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ as well as the government’s ‘failure’ to extend effective schemes such as Access to Work as being part of the problem.

For some disabled people the barriers to getting work begin as soon as they leave the house as public transport is ill-equipped to help physically disabled people get into work. For example, in London only 25% (67 out of 270) of underground stations are step-free.

 

Promoting equality

The manifesto demands a variety of actions to promote disability equality both in the workplace and in wider society, including:

  • Proper interpretation of the reasonable adjustment duty.

  • More employment rights and decent pay and conditions for carers.

  • A British Sign Language Act.

  • Improving legal recognition of disability hate crime.

“Far from being a friend of disabled workers, this government has shown its true colours by a series of measures that have hit them in the home, in the workplace and in education,” complained Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, TUC. “Disabled people deserve a fair deal at work and the chance to participate and progress in all areas of life. We need to change the approach to disability and remove the barriers that prevent disabled people participating, rather than focus on what an individual cannot do.”

The government faces some criticism from outside as Ellen Clifford from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) observed: “With the UK having now become the first state in the world to be investigated for grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s rights, it is definitely time to get disability equality firmly back on the political agenda.”

Picture: The TUC has published a manifesto calling on a concerted programme to achieve equality for the disabled in the workplace 

Article written by Mike Gannon

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