Some of the most frustrating casework I have done over the past 15 years has been for members with disabilities, and long-term chronic health conditions. Including seeking reasonable adjustments for my own disabilities.
The passing of the Equality Act 2010 should have heralded a change in the way employers treated all staff with protected characteristics.
It should have but it did not.
Those with physical disabilities face barriers that would not be tolerated in any other public sector.
Those with unseen disabilities are bullied, harassed, and shamed, to the point of exacerbation of their disabilities, which often leads to them leaving academia.
Covid-19 has led to further attacks on disabled workers through institutional and governmental policy changes. Supporting disabled members in the workplace is more important than ever.
In 2018 the chair of UCU’s disabled members committee, of which I am a member, led a campaign with sister unions, UNISON, the NUS and campaigning organisations for action on ‘silent massacre’ of disabled staff and students. And yet, staff and students continue to face ever-increasing challenges, and hostile working environments.
As we approach the new academic year it is essential that as a union we put in place measures to support and protect disabled members.
As UCU activists and members what can we do?
I very recently negotiated the piloting of UCU’s Reasonable Adjustment Passport in one of Bournemouth University’s faculties and all of our members are encouraged to use it.
Below are 2 actions you can take to support disabled staff and students.
1. Pass a motion in your branch to adopt UCU’s reasonable adjustment passport, which you can download here (based on the TUC reasonable adjustment passport). The TUC reasonable adjustment passport was adapted for a UCU by Sharon Russell of the UCU Equality Team, and endorsed by the Disabled Members Standing Committee. UCU guidance for disabled members is collated here .
2. Join the Creating a fully inclusive education system webinar this Friday 7 August 2020 at 1.00pm. DMSC Chair Elane Heffernan, Vice Chair Themesa Neckles and Lucy Burke will be leading the seminar.
To send the registration link to your networks please find the full link and the short link below.
To join please Register here.
Please use the following links to share and promote the event on social media: