Tag Archives: events

Unison Disabled Members’ Conference, Brighton – Report by Asif Iqbal

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I attended UNISON Disabled Member’s Conference as a representative for Camden Unison, which took place at Brighton Conference Centre on Saturday 2nd-Sunday 3rd November 2019.

It was well-attended with over 250 delegates, the majority have some form of disability. The conference was led by Josie Bird, Unison President and Christina McAnea, Assistant General Secretary for Bargaining, Negotiating and Equalities. It was also pleasing to a good diversity of people as Chairs of each sessions.

During the conferences, there was some workshops, I attended an interesting workshop: Negotiating Reasonable Adjustment policies and Passport which was very popular and attended by large number of delegates.

We talked about deaf and hard of hearing employees and the challenges they faces with their employers eg: noises in work place, their rights to reasonable adjustment under Equality Act e.g: request for quieter room/ environment to meet their individual needs. This was fully supported by UNISON.

The conference reminded the delegates about the Equality Act 2010 which says that employers must provide reasonable adjustment to disabled job applicants/ workers and former employees who face a substantial disadvantage in comparison to someone who is not disabled. If employers do not provide reasonable adjustments where they have a duty to do so, then they may face Employment Tribunal claims.

Unison highlighted the importance for all delegates and employers to be aware of ‘Disability passports in the workplace’, which encourage the introduction and ensure continuous support of reasonable adjustment in a form of disability passport. Essentially, a disability passport provide a framework for discussion with a manager and disabled employee regarding the support required for that disabled employee.

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The workshop also discussed ‘What is Social Model of Disability’ and delegates urge all employers not to use Medical Model when considering the employee’s needs. It is really crucial to encourage employers especially managers and HR to use the Social Model of Disability, looking at environmental/attitudinal barriers that ‘disable’ the employee that needs removing and adopt a ‘can do’ positive attitude as key message, rather than seeing the person’s disability as the problem.

One of the topic discussed during the conference was ‘Tackling the Disability Pay Gap’ which introduce a mandatory monitoring and reporting for the Employers, on the disability pay in the same way as Gender and BAME (currently being monitored).

Other areas discussed were:

•Awareness of Access to Work – calling Government to expand the Access to Work scheme to include young, black, deaf and disabled people in voluntary placements, where these offer opportunity for paid work and do not replace permanent staff. By extending the ATW scheme to voluntary placement (currently only on those on internships), this would enable more people to gain valuable work experiences and skills as a pathway to paid employment. Currently, lots of disabled people want to work but unable to access to voluntary placement opportunity without appropriate ATW support in place and many employers were reluctant to offer voluntary placement to disabled people without ATW, due to additional cost.

•Disability Confident Scheme campaign for all public sector employers to participate in the national accredited Disability Confident Scheme encouraging them to demonstrate a genuine commitment include employment, progression and management of disabled workers that would allow organisations to evidence they are closing the disability gap.

•PIP assessment support – to create guidance materials on the process for PIP assessments and the support channels that can be used during this process and work with the national office branch welfare officers to be trained on PIP assessments to provide support to members.

•Access to Mental Health Services for Deaf People – lobby the Department o Health and NHS to provided improved mental health services for Deaf people including increasing the provision of one to one counselling directly through BSL, without the need for an interpreter.

During Day 2 of the conference (Sunday 3rd November 2019), I stood on the platform during UNISON Conference with a great applause.

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If you want more information about how Camden UNISON can support or represent members with disabilities and campaign for equality, contact Jare Oyewole or Asif Iqbal or email unison@camden.gov.uk

Don’t invest in fossil fuels!

We have a petition calling on Camden to divest our pension fund from the fossil fuel industry. Our aim is to collect as many signatures as possible and submit the petition alongside a deputation to the pensions committee in November.

Abandoning fossil fuel investment is not only the right thing to do is also the financially smart thing to do. Several major financial institutions, among them the bank of England, have branded investment in fossil fuel as ‘risky’.

Please sign the petition which is attached here, or available at the UNISON office or from your UNISON steward.

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CELEBRATE WITH CAMDEN UNISON! Friday 8 November – 6pm onwards, The Chapel Bar, 29 Penton Street N1 9PX

Earlier this year our traffic warden members took 33 days strike action and won a brilliant pay rise. They were supported by our branch and other individuals/branches, and we want to thank you.

And after decades of activity in Camden UNISON, Barry Walden, John Mann and Mandy Berger are leaving so join us in thanking them for building a campaigning UNISON branch that stands up for our members!

We have DJs, food and of course a few speeches.

Friday 8th November 2019 6pm-late

The Chapel Bar

29 Penton Street N1 9PX

Then and now – 30 years apart, Camden UNISON members on strike fighting for their rights!

click to download pdf

Party Flyer

 

Celebrating Black History Month

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click here to download pd

 

“Today we’re making history” – Climate emergency rally outside 5PS on 20 September

Following on from the Thursday’s atrium briefing at 5PS, where Camden UNISON Branch Secretary Liz Wheatley joined Camden Council leader Georgia Gould addressing the challenges that the climate emergency raises, hundreds of Unison members joined Friday’s day of action, filling the main area of Pancras Square.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCk64aqgxGk&feature=youtu.be

The day was characterised by the awareness that impending climate disasters responsibility lies at the door of the irresponsible strategy of the world governments. This strategy is dictated by the interests of carbon lobbies and multinational corporations who can no longer deny the damage that their exploitation is causing to the environment.

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Over the last year, students have been walking out of school to highlight the climate emergency, and in advance of Greta Thunberg’s address to the UN, they asked us to join them. In response to that call, Camden UNISON called on members to rally at lunchtime outside 5PS and, for those who could, to join the students in Parliament Square. Council staff were met by NUJ members from the Guardian and other local workers, and a group of primary school students with placards they’d made.

Speakers from Camden UNISON, the NUJ at the Guardian, the UCU (college workers’ union) at UAL in Granary Square, Extinction Rebellion and from the political parties in Camden addressed the rally before a group of UNISON members left to meet the student strikers and march in Whitehall to chants of “No coal, no oil, keep your carbon in the soil” and “system change not climate change”.

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Friday was a real success, involving members who had never been on a rally or march before, and it was great to be part of a massive global movement where it’s estimated about 4 million people took to the streets. But it’s only the beginning of what we must do. We will keep members updated but put 7 October (when Camden UNISON will be presenting a deputation at the Council meeting) and 12 October (when Extinction Rebellion have asked for trade unions to join their protests) in your diary now.

Climate Rally outside 5PS at 12.30 and Student Strike in Parliament Sq at 2pm on Friday 20 September 2019

Greta Thunberg, the school student from Sweden who has sparked a global movement against climate change, has called on us to support the protests on Friday 20 September. Around the world, millions of students will be marching. They have already taken climate change to the top of the political agenda and now they want us to join them to send a clear message that action is needed now. Continue reading

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Black History Month event on Friday 27 October

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