Report: RMT Disabled Members' Advisory Committee, 5 February 2018

The fourth meeting of RMT's Disabled Members' Advisory Committee was the best-attended yet. The Committee continues to grow in size, and all members attended the meeting and contributed to our lively discussions.

We confirmed that at our last meeting, the General Secretary had committed to tabling our proposals for union action on mental health to the National Executive, and were disappointed that this had not yet happened. This issue will be pursued.

We discussed progress with producing materials with our logo. Large materials eg. the table banner and (probably) T-shirts, can be made with the full logo, but smaller items eg. badges, will need a smaller one. We agreed that this would include a single graphic of a barrier being broken.

The National Executive reported on our previous resolution about London Underground Ltd's resistance to our request for an Autism and Neurodiversity policy. The company is now willing to discuss this with us, so the three Committee members for London Transport region will join the union's lead officer in a meeting with LUL's new Director of Diversity and Inclusion.

We agreed the arrangements for the RMT Disabled Members' Conference, to be held on 26-27 April in Southend. It's going to be an excellent event, and disabled members from throughout the union are welcome to attend. Click here to see the full details of the conference.

The Chair gave an update on difficulties with TUC Disabled Workers' Conference and a possible change of venue and date.

Chiltern Line branch had submitted a motion asking the union to campaign for the right of disabled passengers to 'turn up and go', and to emphasise this in the union's campaigns to keep guards and station staff. The motion was enthusiastically supported, with many Committee members making relevant points. We passed the motion unanimously. It will now be tabled to the National Executive Committee.

We asked for an update on the union's accessibility audit. The National Education Centre is having work done on it to make it more accessible. A report is being prepared on other premises' accessibility.

Members of the Committee reported on disability issues that they are tackling in their companies and areas. Reports included:

  • individual cases of discrimination
  • employers refusing to make reasonable adjustments for disabled staff, including one which said, 'We don't do reasonable adjustments'!
  • employers requiring ticket office staff to 'floorwalk' during quiet times of day
  • breaches of confidentiality about members' personal medical information
  • cuts to admin staff, with a negative impact on disabled members

Our next meetings this year will take place on 2 July and 12 November.

Training courses are available of particular interest to disabled members:

  • Disabled Members' weekend, 16-17 March
  • Cancer in the Workplace, 12-16 March
  • Autism in the Workplace, 2-6 July

There are other courses which are already full (eg. Disability in the Workplace in June). 
Regions can ask for any of these courses to be run in their area. The national union will meet the costs and provide the tutor and materials.

The Chair expressed concern about the union inviting the CEO of Mind to speak at RMT Health and Safety Conference, as Mind had seconded staff to the Department of Work and Pensions, which is persecuting disabled people. Disabled activists have protested against Mind's actions in doing this. The meeting shared this concern.