Report: RMT Disabled Members' Advisory Committee, 7 October 2019

Despite several members being unavoidably absent, the meeting was well-attended and lively. We welcomed our newest Committee member, Tomas Bissett from Liverpool 5 branch.



Pauls Reilly and Shaw attended on behalf of the National Executive, introducing their report which can be read here: The following comments were made on NEC decisions:


Accessibility of RMT publications

We would like DMAC nominees added to the website working group that the NEC has set up.

We felt the NEC decision was rather dismissive, and missed the opportunity to make RMT publications more accessible. For example: Why not produce RMT News, and other RMT documents, in a dyslexia-friendly font? Wouldn’t this be better - and easier - than dyslexic members having to individually ask for a special version just for them? We ask the NEC to look at this again.

We also noted that some members had not received the accessibility survey, so asked that it be enclosed with RMT News.


Inclusive Union Forms

Again, we found this decision rather cursory, which missed the opportunity to make forms more accessible. Our concern about union forms is not particularly what information they capture, but how they are laid out, and how easy they are to understand. We are concerned not just about membership forms, but Credit Union forms, claim forms, etc. We ask the NEC to look at this again.


We welcomed the NEC’s endorsement of our constitution and standing orders.

We very much welcomed the inclusion in the report of updates on the progress of previous resolutions, and made the following comments:

We will be asking for members to tell us their experiences of personality testing to assist with the NEC’s deliberations at its December meeting.

We ask the NEC to ensure that sufficient Disability in the Workplace training courses are organised for the branch Disability Officers who will soon be elected.

We noted our recruitment and organising successes in TfL’s Steps Into Work scheme for autistic and learning-disabled people. We would like the union to consider a free, or very low, membership fee for people on unpaid work experience schemes such as this. The NEC members advised us that this would require a rule change, so we ask the NEC to propose such a rule change to next year’s AGM.

We noted that our comments on the NEC report to our last DMAC meeting are being tabled to the Equal Rights Sub-committee. We agreed that this was a good way to progress matters, and will submit a report after every DMAC meeting.




We made some decisions to progress our plan. These are shown in details in a separate document. Notable points are:


We agreed a design for a ‘Know Your Rights’ poster

‘Know Your Rights’ week 12-18 January 2020: we ask all branches and regional councils to organise activities

We ask the union to progress the decision in our agreed plan to produce a professional version of our short ‘Disabled workers – know your rights’ video


‘Disabled People for Guards’ protest to be held (date to be confirmed)

‘Disabled People say Keep London Overground ticket offices open’ day of protests on 1 November in conjunction with local Labour Parties in Hackney and Islington

London ‘Staff Our Stations’ public rally, in conjunction with National Women’s Advisory Committee, to be held on 25 November

We approved a Staff Our Stations’ logo, which will be forwarded to RMT comms department for finalising, with request to produce similar designs for other slogans. The designs to then be used on T-shirts, placards, flags and stickers with these logos.


After RMT News did not print our ‘Disabled Workers Speak Out’ articles in two issues, our Chair sought and obtained an assurance from the General Secretary that the articles would be included. DMAC asks the union to publish a pamphlet collating these articles.


DMAC continues to be frustrated by the lack of implementation of our decisions and recommendations on mental health. DMAC chair is arranging an informal discussion with NEC members about the union’s work on mental health.


We were advised that the General Secretary has written to Severn Valley Railway expressing our concern about its policy of not allowing autistic people to volunteer. SVR has not replied, so we now ask the NEC to move to a public campaign on this issue.




This will take place 16-17 November. RMT is sending a delegation. Davie O’Donnell will report to our next DMAC meeting.




We agreed to invite two speakers:

  • a representative of the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People
  • a local MP: Rebecca Long Bailey or Angela Rayner

We will hold a social on the Friday evening, with Manchester-based folk singer Karina Knight.


We agreed the following agenda:

Friday 17 April

12:00 How conference works - informal session

13:00 Lunch

14:00 Chair's welcome; election: tellers & harassment officers, welcome to Manchester, minutes of 2019 conference, DMAC report

14:45 Workshops: 1. DMAC action plan; 2. Disabled Workers' Charter

15:30 Break

13:45 Workshops: 1. DMAC action plan; 2. Disabled Workers' Charter

16:30 Debate and vote on action plan and charter

17:00 Guest speaker

Saturday 18 April

10:00 General Secretary; TUC Disabled Workers' Committee report; STUC Disabled Workers' Conference report; Union Learning

11:30 Break

11:45 Progress report on 2019 conference resolutions; 2020 resolutions

13:00 Lunch

14:00 Resolutions (cont); vote for two AGM motions; 2021 venue; election of chair, vice chair, liaison committee members (3)


We agreed to provide the following to make participation easier:

  • a single-sheet guide to writing motions (to be enclosed with the notice of the conference)
  • a ring binder containing all the conference documents to delegates when they register.




We agreed to recommend that RMT submit a motion on accessible transport, to include up-to-date issues such as the latest rounds of ticket office closures, DOO disputes, etc

We also agreed to run a stall again, and to hold a fringe meeting on Disabled Workers and the Anti-Union Laws.

Invitations to nominate delegates will be sent to branches in the new year.




David (North East region) was unable to attend but sent a long and detailed report that was circulated to committee members, including: Mental Health First Aid; accessible toilets on new LNER rolling stock; DMAC speakers at branch meetings; LNER Equality Reps; RMT training courses advertised on branch website (; TUC congress; sunflower lanyards and sensory rooms; Staff our Stations; psychometric/personality testing; dyspraxia; branch materials made accessible to dyslexic members; men’s mental health; SEND cuts; Neurodivergent Labour; RMT AGM 2020

David has withdrawn from running the DP4Guards Twitter account. DMAC agreed to Tomas (North West region) taking over.

Paul (LT region) reported on representing the union at a SERTUC meeting on accessible transport.

Janine (LT region) reported on the Transport for London Diversity and Inclusion Forum.

Ian (Midlands region) reported on continuing problems with inaccessibility of the union’s Midlands office.

Davie (Scotland) reported on progress with his #HaveYouGotaMinute campaign on mental health.




Delegates reported on:

  • the sacking of an autistic member who had a ‘meltdown’ at work
  • dyspraxia awareness week
  • late diagnosis
  • fine issued to a dyslexic passenger who was unable to use a ticket vending machine
  • Greta Thunberg and women on the autistic spectrum
  • Neurodivergent Labour: membership now open; founding AGM on 30 November




Disability-related courses scheduled (so far) for next year:

  • Equality at Work - 30 March - 3 April; 21-25 September
  • Mental health - 20-24 April; 5-9 October
  • Disability in the Workplace - 11-15 May
  • Autism in the Workplace - 1-5 June
  • Cancer in the Workplace - 3-7 July
  • Harassment and Bullying - 16-17 or 18-19 March; 21-22 or 23-24 September
  • Disabled Members’ two-day course - 21-22 October

We await dates for the Neurodiversity three-day course, noting that it did not run at the National Education Centre in 2019 so we expect it to take place early in 2020.

Regional Councils and Regional Organisers have been asked to submit their requests for training courses for 2020, so if you would like a particular course to run in your region, please raise it with your RC or RO.




We agreed the guidance notes for branches on making meetings more accessible, with a few additions, and a very useful appendix by Richard.

This document will now be sent out to branches. We will follow it up with guidance notes on other areas of branch activities (eg. organising, social activities, supporting reps, publications, elections, etc). We would also like to make videos explaining our advice.




Committee members were given a copy of RMT’s Equality Audit, and we will discuss this in detail at our next meeting.