Report: Disabled Members' Advisory Committee, 12 November 2019

Updates

  • The disabled members' census which the General Secretary proposed at our last meeting will be renamed the 'access needs survey', and will focus on what disabled members need in order to access union events and materials rather than on the nature of their impairment or condition.
  • Members will be chasing up branches to ensure that motions are sent to the Committee/Conference.
  • We are still pursuing London Underground Ltd to adopt a neurodiversity policy.
  • We agreed to have neurodiversity as a standing item on the agenda of each meeting of our Committee

 

Activity plan

Following a rule change this year, the Committee can now organise activities as well as advising the Executive. The General Secretary has decided that this must be in the form of an annual plan of activities that is then presented to the National Executive. While Committee members will be discussing this ruling with their Executive members, in the meantime we are drawing up our plan. We are looking at the draft that you can read here, and will be finalising it at our next meeting.

 

Forthcoming conferences

  • Scottish TUC Disabled Workers' Conference takes place on 17-18 November:
    • Davie O'Donnell and Janet Cassidy will represent RMT
    • Davie will report back to our next Committee meeting.
  • TUC Disabled Workers' Conference takes place on 23-24 May:
    • nomination papers for RMT's delegates have been distributed to branches
    • our Committee recommends to the National Executive that RMT submits a motion on austerity attacks on disabled people
  • RMT Disabled Members' Conference takes place on 27-28 April:
    • Colin from the host branch outlined the details of the venue and accommodation in Plymouth
    • Committee members suggested sessions on:
      • Disabled Workers' Charter
      • neurodiversity
      • Deaf awareness / BSL
      • travel facilities for disabled members (possible subject for a motion)
    • ... and speakers:
      • CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
      • local campaigners
      • local autism centre
    • The Liaison Committee will meet at 12pm immediately before the next meeting of the Advisory Committee to agree a detailed proposal.

 

Standing orders and constitution

Following a rule change this year, the Committee now drafts its own constitution and standing orders, which the General Secretary or the National Executive must agree. At our next meeting, we will be provided with a document that codifies our current practice, and we can then amend it if we wish to. This will include the make-up of the Committee is, and Committee members intend to propose that the number of seats per region is increased from the current three, perhaps to five, to enable more disabled members to get involved.

 

Progress with resolutions

NEC member Andy Littlechild reported on progress with previous resolutions from our Disabled Members' Conference and Committee:

  • Harassment guidelines - The Executive has agreed to incorporate the sentiments of our resolution into the reps' guide on harassment and bullying, and will finalise this at its December statutory meeting.
  • Training accessibility - The new accreditation process for RMT training will address the issue of venue accessibility. We raised the issue that the content and delivery of training also needs to be accessible.
  • Cuts to Special Educational Needs funding - The union is supporting a day of action on 21 November against disability discrimination in education, including SEND cuts. We await further reports on what else the union is doing to carry out this resolution.
  • Mental health - The National Executive is engaged in lengthy internal discussion about whether it will deal with mental health as a Health and Safety issue or as a Disability / Equality issue. Until this is resolved, no progress is being made on implementing our resolutions. Discussion is taking place on our call for branches to appoint a specific person to provide support and a 'listening ear' for reps, to ensure that they receive appropriate training and that the boundaries of their role are clear. Andy will circulate information about the mental health first aider course that is used by ULRs.
  • Accessibility audit - The union is carrying out a further stage of the accessibility audit after our Committee make clear that it was not satisfied with the first.
  • 'Turn Up and Go' campaign - The National Executive supported a resolution from Chiltern Line branch supporting disabled passengers' right to travel without having to give advance notice.

 

Resolutions

  • Universal credit - We unanimously agreed a resolution to campaign to stop and scrap Universal Credit. Click here to read the full text.
  • Accessibility audit - We unanimously agreed a resolution that set out the Committee's reasons for believing the audit so far to be inadequate.

 

2019 meetings

  • 28 January
  • 1 July
  • 7 October