Report: First Ever RMT Disabled Members' Advisory Committee Meeting

The newly-formed RMT Disabled Members' Advisory Committee met for the first time on 14 June. This is a summary of its discussions.


TUC Report

RMT sent its largest ever delegation to the TUC Disabled Workers' Conference in May. Our motion on keeping guards on trains was passed unanimously. Several of our delegates contributed well to the debates. There will be a report in the next RMT News.

The TUC Disabled Workers' Committee has set up a subgroup to campaign for accessible transport, which is being convened by Janine Booth (RMT). Initial plans are to run a 'Disabled People for Guards' campaign, and to organise a seminar in the Autumn on fighting for accessible transport. The General Secretary advised that the TUC would have to write to him to ask for support for this.


RMT Disabled Workers' Conference decisions

The National Executive is considering its response to the resolutions passed by Disabled Members' Conference. The Committee is putting forward the following advice on how we would like to see the resolutions implemented:


Disabled Workers and Attendance at Work Policies

  • ask all lead officers to table to employers the resolution's demand for a review of attendance policies

  • ensure that the issue of attendance policies is included in the union's Disability in the Workplace training course

  • run this course in regions as well as nationally

  • include disability issues / case studies in the union's reps and health & safety training courses

  • provide a briefing document for reps on this issue


Disabled Workers and Austerity

  • support Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) week of action in July

  • as part of this week of action, call 'keep the guard on the train' protests: suggested locations Victoria, Brighton, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow

  • support TUC Disabled Workers' Committee's forthcoming 'Disabled People for Guards' campaign

  • make a donation to DPAC


Autism and Neurodiversity

  • endorse the Labour Party Autism and Neurodiversity Manifesto

  • suggest additions to the Manifesto re. accurate statistics, diagnosis/identification, research

  • run a two-day 'Neurodiversity in the Workplace' training course, while continuing to run the week-long Autism in the Workplace course

  • demand employers negotiate autism/neurodiversity policies, including training


These resolutions will be discussed at the union's AGM at the end of June:

  • Improving RMT Policy and Activity on Mental Health

  • Social Model of Disability

  • Accessibility Audit



The one resolution (submitted by Finsbury Park branch) was passed unanimously and will now go forward to the National Executive:

We note that London Underground Ltd has refused to even discuss this union's request to negotiate an autism/neurodiversity employment policy. Despite several cases of distress and discrimination against autistic and other neurodivergent employees, the company refuses to develop a policy that could make its working conditions more accessible and equal.
As the company has refused to discuss this through the machinery of negotiation, we call on the union to run a public and political campaign to force LUL to negotiate, to include seeking a meeting with the Mayor and TfL board members,
We also ask that the union tables this proposal to all employers with which we have negotiating rights.


Local reports

Committee members reported on disability issues in their companies and areas. This included management mistreatment of catering workers injured while operating trolleys, and the shortcomings of MTR Crossrail in delivering its promise to be fully accessible.


Committee elections and membership

The Committee elected its Chair (Janine Booth) and Vice-Chair (Paul Greany), and two Liaison Committee members (Christine Willett and Meena Permal), with a further Liaison Committee member to be added at the next meeting.

There are still vacancies on the Committee in every region except London Transport, so Committee members plan to visit regional and branch meetings to encourage members to put themselves forward. This has already been successful in filling one seat.

Christine will write an article for RMT News about her experience of joing the Advisory Committee and encouraging others to do so.


Next year's conference

Next year's Disabled Members' Conference will take place in Southend, and the Committee expressed a strong and unanimous view that it needs to be a two-day event, rather than the half-day conference held this year. We want to invite guest speakers, debate motions and include training workshops. With disabled people often finding travelling particularly challenging and tiring, we simply will not be able to fit all the business we want to include in to one day. There is a motion to RMT's Annual General Meeting at the end of June calling for the conference to be held over two days, which we hope will be passed.