Disability Officer’s Report to RMT London Transport Region, September 2015

Protest at Oakwood station
On Monday 21 September, Transport for All held a protest at Oakwood station (pictured), highlighting the significant increase in lift failures making stations inaccessible to wheelchair users. Protesters emphasised their opposition to London Underground Ltd’s cuts to station staffing. I addressed the protest, as did local Assembly member Joanne McCartney and several demonstrators. Joanne ahs agreed to meet with RMT reps in her area to discuss various issues, including Night Tube and cleaners.
More about this issue here.

Coroners’ verdict
A coroner has demanded that the government takes action to prevent future deaths of disability benefit claimants, after concluding in a “ground-breaking” inquest verdict that a disabled man killed himself as a direct result of being found “fit for work”.
More information here.

Get DPAC to Manchester
RMT’s Regional Council meeting on 24 September heard an informative and inspiring speech from Paula Peters of Disabled People Against Cuts. DPAC campaigns through lobbying and direct action against government attacks on disabled people’s rights and benefits, and has actively supported our fights against the de-staffing of public transport.
DPAC members intend to hold several high-impact protests during the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester starting on 3 October, but due to the inaccessibility of mainstream transport and accommodation, this will be quite costly, so they are asking trade unionists to make a contribution. Several branches have already made donations, as has the Regional Council. Please ask your branch to contribute too. You can also make a personal donation via the DPAC website.

New Shadow Minister
Following Jeremy Corbyn’s fantastic, landslide victory in the Labour Party leadership election, there is a new Shadow Minister for Disabled People, Debbie Abrahams. I and the other co-Chair of the TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee, Sean McGovern, have written to her asking for an urgent meeting to discuss the commitments that trade unionists want the Labour Party to make to disabled workers.
More on the TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee here.

Autism in the workplace training
RMT has just released the calendar for training courses in 2016. For the first time, this includes week-long courses on ‘Autism in the Workplace’, to be held at the Bob Crow National Education Centre in Doncaster starting on 25 January and 13 June.
Many union reps are called upon to represent autistic members and members who have caring responsibility for autistic dependants, and our unions can do more to demand that workplaces become more autism-friendly. If you attend this course, the union will provide accommodation and travel, and will refund your lost wages if you need to take unpaid leave.
The full calendar and registration forms are here.

Janine Booth
Disability Officer
RMT London Transport Regional Council



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