The Trades Union Congress (TUC) brings together more than six million people who make up their 48 member unions
By influencing the TUC we support them to advocate for collective bargaining, trade unionism and putting working people at the heart of society, economy and politics.
Some of our most crucial work comes via attendance at the annual TUC equality conferences.
In 2022, CSP members from a range of working environments including the NHS, private practice, student membership and a council member attended TUC Black Workers, Disabled Workers and Women’s conferences.
TUC Women’s – March
Delegates: Leanne Antoine (CSP Council member), Elizabeth Cachia (CSP equality rep), Samantha Russell (CSP member and specialist antenatal and postnatal physio), Helen Purcell (CSP senior negotiating officer), Siân Caulfield (CSP national officer).
Justice. Safety. Equality. The three words used to represent the ask of women at 2022’s TUC Women’s Conference. The CSP submitted two motions based on issues affecting members – equality impact assessments (EqIAs) and flexible working. Elizabeth Cachia said:
The conference had a great community feel and level of respect throughout.
A first-time speaker at conference, she delivered a moving speech about the impact a lack of flexible working opportunities had on her mother’s career.
CSP Council member Leanne Antoine gave a rousing speech about her experience of equality impact assessments and the power they can bring to ensure fairer workplaces as we recover from the pandemic.
The CSP also contributed to an emergency motion in support of the ongoing situation in Ukraine and the impact of war on women. The motion called for protection of all women and girls fleeing conflict across the globe, including welcoming refugees and supporting international trade unions and women’s support services.
TUC Disabled Workers – March
Delegates: Bex Francis and Iona Bateman (CSP DisAbility network and student network members), Siân Caulfield (CSP national officer).
According to the Labour Force Survey, there are 6.8 million disabled people of working age in Britain. This equates to one in five of the working population. However, only 51 per cent of disabled people of working age are in employment compared to 81 per cent of non-disabled people. The average gross hourly wage of disabled workers is ten per cent less than that of non-disabled people.
The CSP’s delegation brought their combined experience of being involved in the DisAbility and student networks as well as Ms Bateman offering her experience as a mature student. Ms Bateman delivered a powerful speech in support of the CSP motion on the right to reasonable adjustments.
Ms Bateman discussed her experience as a student physiotherapist living with chronic scapholunate dissociation which impairs dominant hand function. When deciding if she wanted to pursue physiotherapy as a career, she received mixed messages about whether the NHS would be willing to make reasonable adjustments and some claimed that even if she made it through the course, nobody would employ her with a hand impairment.
The reality is that disability is caused not by an individual’s impairment but by the numerous physical, social, environmental and financial barriers encountered during the course of everyday life.
This social model of disability draws upon the concepts of ‘empowerment’ and ‘inclusion’ and emphasises society’s responsibility in working towards the creation of a barrier-free world in which everyone, regardless of their impairment, can fully participate.
TUC Black Workers – May
Delegates: Rekha Soni, Doreen Caesar, Bunmi, Suki Wong (CSP Black, Asian, minority ethnic leadership team members) Siân Caulfield (CSP national officer).
Conference considered the work of the TUC Race Relations Committee this year including mandatory ethnic pay gap reporting, the Nationality and Borders Bill, black women and sexual harassment and the TUC’s anti-racism taskforce.
In 2021, CSP delegates to TUC Black Workers Conference fed into the work of the anti-racism taskforce. Now in its second year, the taskforce comprises senior leaders from the trade union movement, civil society and academia. The taskforce this year has focused on implementing concrete actions as well as a programme of research, evidencing the scale and impact of institutional and systemic race inequalities across the UK labour market and society.
Ms Wong discussed migrant workers’ rights and her own experience of moving to the UK. She said: ‘It was eye-opening but also sad to hear many professions and trade unions outside of healthcare having similar challenges with regards to discrimination, microaggressions, racism, gender pay gap and barriers to progression.
‘However it was reassuring to see so many experienced trade unionists and activists.’
If you would like to attend any of TUC’s equality conferences get in touch with CSP national officer Siân Caulfield firstname.lastname@example.org
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