Report: RMT Disabled Members’ Advisory Committee, 15 November 2017

The government’s consultation on transport accessibility has extended its deadline to Wednesday 22 November. Anyone can submit their views. RMT has made a submission and leafleted everyone at the recent Disabled People’s Summit asking them to submit evidence in support of retaining guards on trains. Details on how to submit are here.

RMT Disabled Members’ Conference 2018 will take place on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 April at the Park Inn by Radisson Palace. Southend-on-Sea

  • This is the first ever two-day conference of RMT’s disabled members.
  • On the first day, before conference officially starts, there will be a briefing on how the conference works.
  • Guest speakers to be invited will be Paula Peters (Disabled People Against Cuts) and Marsha de Cordova MP (Labour’s Shadow Minister for Disabled People).
  • We will hold ‘workshops’ during the conference, where delegates break into smaller groups to look at an issue in more detail. These will be on: the social model of disability; how accessible is our union?; mental health; keep the guard on the train; and rights at work.
  • There will be a report from the National Executive, a report from the Disabled Members’ Advisory Committee; and an address from the General Secretary.
  • Most importantly, there will be debate on motions from branches and regional councils. This is your chance to raise the issues that matter to you and disabled members in your area. Two of the motions passed by the conference will go to the union’s annual General Meeting; the others will go to the Executive.
  • Other formal business includes: electing the chair, vice-chair and liaison committee for the next year; and deciding the venue for the 2019 conference.
  • There will be a social on the Thursday evening, including karaoke and open mic!
  • Accommodation, conference and social are all in the same venue. It has good facilities and is reasonably accessible.
  • Notice of the conference will be sent out in January; branches and regional councils can send up to four delegates, and will receive a contribution from the national union of £35 per delegate towards expenses.

Executive report: There was no NEC report, as the NEC had not met since our last meeting. However, the Committee was keen to hear updates on progress on implementing previous decisions and suggestions, which are reported below.

Mental Health: The proposals we drew up at our last meeting will be tabled to the National Executive and we hope they will be agreed!

Logo: We endorsed the logo that had be prepared by various disabled members via our Facebook group. The union will produce a wide banner, flags and T-shirts with this logo on, with the slogan ‘Access and Equality for All’.

Disabled Workers and Attendance at Work policies: Lead officers have been asked to call on all employers to review their attendance policies to ensure that they are not mistreating disabled staff. Committee members identified various cases in which this had happened.

Social Model of Disability: The National Executive will receive training in this once new members take office in the new year.

Accessibility Audit: The union is checking on the accessibility of its premises. The committee was concerned that progress needed to be made with this.

Autism and Neurodiversity: The new training course on Neurodiversity will be added to the union’s education programme soon; the Labour Party Autism and Neurodiversity Manifesto will be put to the National Executive for support; we are making progress with getting London Underground Ltd to address this issue with us.

Accessible Transport Summit: following the success of the Disabled People’s Summit on 4 November, the TU Disabled Workers’ Committee will be holding an Accessible Transport Summit early next year. Janine is convening this, and RMT will be involved in presenting some of the content. We hope that lo9ts of RMT members will attend. We would also like the union to make a donation towards the running costs.

TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference 2018: The Committee agreed to recommend to the Executive that it submit a motion calling on the TUC to provide detailed guidance and support to trade unions on making themselves more accessible to disabled members at both a national and a branch level.

Transport for All: The Committee unanimously agreed a resolution from Finsbury Park branch calling on the union to affiliate to Transport for All.

Reports: Committee members reported on their efforts to pursue disabled members’ issues in their areas, often in the face of hostile and/or incompetent employers.

Meeting dates 2018: The Advisory Committee will meet next year on 5 February, July (date tbc) and 12 November.

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