What is the national disabled workers’ committee? Jasmine Churms explains
The national disabled workers’ committee advises the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on policy, campaigns and activities around disability and disabled workers.
By advising TUC general council – and introducing formal policies through congress motions – we bring disability and disability rights to the fore of the trade union movement’s work within the workplace. We also act as a forum to address disability discrimination within the movement.
I am a co-opted member of the committee, taking a seat set-aside to ensure young disabled workers are represented. I also make sure the committee considers the healthcare workforce. Healthcare workers have a high likelihood of having disability, and it’s very important that we advocate – not just for our patients, but also for positive policies to keep ourselves working for longer – without having to struggle to survive.
One of our main areas of discussion is currently Long Covid and support available from employers. We are also reviewing various health and disability white papers that have been brought up by government: raising concerns about how these would disadvantage disabled people.
This union role has helped me professionally by raising my awareness of how our patients may be disadvantaged by public policies and what they are entitled to.
How can others get involved in disability activism? Being involved within the CSP’s DisAbility network helped me step up my activism – the opportunity to get involved with the TUC and the national disabled workers’ committee actually came from members of the CSP’s disability committee, who put information about the role to members of our DisAbility network.
But you can also step-up with smaller things: correcting someone’s language around disability for example; being on the look-out for any working groups within your employer; supporting a movement or helping to organise events that are centred around disability rights.
Additionally, social media is always a good way to look out for opportunities.
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