Birmingham Branch Disabled Members’ meeting
Date: Tuesday May 8th
Venue: UNISON Birmingham Branch 19th Floor McLaren Building Priory Queensway
UNISON Disabled Members are welcome to attend the above meeting.
If you have any specific access requirements please contact:
Philippa Hands: 464 1048 or 200 7107
Mental Health Awareness week event
The Mental Health Awareness week event was very successful.
You can download a report with pictures at he bottom of this page.
On Thursday May 11th the Birmingham Branch hosted an event to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week.
The event was organised by the Disabled Members’ Group and was attended by over 20 members/stewards and Branch Officers.
Birmingham MIND and Healthy Minds gave a presentation on what their services provide as well as the issues facing people with Mental Health disabilities which was very informative and appreciated by those present.
There was ample time for those attending to ask questions as well.
The NEW May newsletter is out - please downlaod it form the bottomm of the page
As a result of the Disabled Members’ AGM meeting Philippa Hands have been re-elected as Disabled Members’ Officer as well as Secretary of the Group. Nasreen Armin has been elected as the Group’s Chair
Here is the Secretary's report for 2017
Over the last year I have tried to increase the awareness of the Group and when the Group meets in order to increase membership. More names have been added to the contact list so that members not able to attend the meetings are kept informed of what issues are being raised at the meetings. New members have also attended the meetings.
The Group has held regular meetings over the last twelve months. The Group has met monthly to discuss disability issues that have been raised by members and has supported members, offering advice on how to deal with these workplace issues.
As Disabled Members’ Officer I have represented the Group at the Branch Executive meetings and raised issues on behalf of the Group.
I have to raise the issue of the Group having to meet after work with the Branch Secretary in order to try and get her to convince the employer to let the Group meet in work’s time, as the employee group DAN is allowed to do. Unfortunately, this request is still not been supported at this. The Group will need to continue to raise this issue within the Branch to negotiate any future agreement.
Over the last year the Group has discussed the motions passed at Disabled Members Conference in 2015 and have chosen 3 of them that the Group believes should be raised within the Birmingham Branch. Following last year’s Disabled Members’ Conference, the Group has discussed a future work programme based on the motions passed at the Conference. The Group concentrated on Autism and how to raise awareness of how this affects members amongst stewards and Branch Officers.
Disabled Members Conference
In 2016 the Disabled Members’ Conference took place in Brighton. The Group sent 3 delegates to the Conference, one of whom was a new delegate. Those who attended were able to network with other disabled members from other Regions and were given the opportunity to debate a total of 29 motions on various disability subjects. No motions from the Group were submitted this year, however the attendees had the opportunity to listen to debates around the motions that were submitted.
Support for Disabled Members
As Disabled Members’ Officer I have represented a number of disabled members across the Branch. I have represented members at Full Case Hearings under the Managing Absence Procedure, at disciplinaries and at grievances. I have also supported members to lodge Dignity at Work Complaints.
- With the help of the Regional Membership Services Officer, the Group has conducted a survey of all disabled members within the Branch regarding the difficulties some members have had in getting the reasonable adjustments they need to support them in the workplace.
- The results were as follows:
Recipients – 8276
Responses – 381 = 4.6% of members
189 have a disability = 49.6% of responders
42 of these are visible = 22.2
155 have declared their disability = 82.1%
34 have not declared their disability = 17.9 %
64 have had difficulties getting reasonable adjustments in place = 33.8
61 have not had problems getting reasonable adjustments =32.2
64 didn’t say = 33.8
- A Freedom of Information request also been made regarding the number of disabled employees who have left the Council and their reasons for leaving in order to see how many might have left because they have experienced difficulties getting reasonable adjustments in the workplace. The results were as follows:
- 37.4% of disabled staff have left the Council since 2010 compared to 31.7% of staff without disabilities. This is a 5.7 more than the average.
- 31.4 of those who have left, just left.
- 33.5 of those who have left went because of the M.A.P.
A further request for information about how many DAW complaints were lodged due to not being given reasonable adjustments revealed that HR does not keep any statistics on how many DAW complaints are lodged, the reasons or even whether they are investigated within 40 days.
- The Group has also continued to raise concerns about the accessibility of the Branch website for disabled members with the Communications’ Officer. The Group is still concerned about the layout of the web page for the Group as well as the font and links to other disability sites. The Group was concerned that the links on the Group’s page do not work and that the page itself does not contain much information on it as there is too much other information on it. The Communication’s Officer has raised the Group’s issues with the web providers but it might be costly to make changes to the web page.
- With the help of the Branch’s Learning Co-Ordinator Donald McCombie the Group has also organised Autism Awareness training for Branch Officers and stewards to raise awareness of mental health issues in order to help them represent members with mental health disabilities more effectively. Although not many people attended the course on the day the Group hopes to run the course again and encourage more people to attend.
Disabled Members Group
The Disabled Members group meets on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 5:30pm until 7:30pm.
The Disabled Member’s self-organised group consists entirely of disabled members who campaign on behalf of our disabled members to ensure that disability issues are given a voice within UNISON.
Some of our members are representatives on Regional Committees as well as on the National Disabled Members Committee. We also attend the National Disabled Members Conference and National Delegate Conference to ensure that disabled members voices are heard.
We are a friendly informal Group and would be happy to help any member with any issues they may have concerning their disability or disability issues in general.
For more information please contact our Disabled Members Officer Philippa Hands on a Monday, Tuesday or Friday at the Branch Office on 0121 200 7107 or 07584707254.
Meetings all take place at the UNISON office which is fully accessible. UNISON, 19th Floor, The McLaren Building, 48 Priory Queensway, Birmingham B4 7LR on the second Tuesday of every month.
What Is A Disability ?
It is an easy question to answer isn't it. After all everybody knows that the answer is anyone who is a wheelchair user, who has lost a limb, is blind or is deaf. However, is it really that easy? What about someone with diabetes, dyslexia, anxiety and depression or obstructive sleep apnoea?
The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as "a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities".
Long term is usually defined as capable of lasting for 12 months or longer. If you meet this definition of a disability, then you are automatically covered under the Equality Act 2010 and your employer is legally bound by the duties imposed upon them under the Act and cannot discriminate against you on the grounds of your disability.
One of the most important obligations placed upon an employer is their duty to consider reasonable adjustments to your job to ensure that you can continue in the job that you were employed to do.
This must be done before any other action can be taken against you. However, just what is meant by a reasonable adjustment?
This can be anything that helps the person to carry out their normal duties and can be as simple as providing a chair with proper back support for someone with a back problem to letting someone with obstructive sleep apnoea come in a little later in the mornings to providing hearing aid compatible telephones.
Of course, you are all saying that your employer will complain about the cost, especially as budgets are being cut back in the current climate.
Research carried out by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has shown that 70% (yes 70%) of all reasonable adjustments cost nothing at all.
Help is also at hand via government agencies such as Job Centre Plus and schemes such as Access to Work and Work Step. These schemes can help to provide funding for workplace assessments to be carried out by properly qualified people such as the RNIB or RNID or to help pay for reasonable adjustments.