Report: RMT National Disabled Members' Advisory Committee meeting, 27 November 2020

[held via Zoom]


The meeting was chaired by our newly-elected Chair, David King, and attended by sixteen Committee members from around the country. Ian Allen attended from the National Executive, but the General Secretary did not attend or send a replacement or apologies.

We began by paying tribute to DMAC member Steve Conway, who had recently died. The meeting was silent for one minute.



Ian Allen (NEC) introduced the report of the NEC decisions on the resolutions passed at the July meeting of DMAC. The subjects of the resolutions included reflection rooms, disabled members in Scotland, timetable changes, training and Covid-19.

Several members commented, expressing frustration that the NEC’s decisions were cursory and our resolutions were not being carried out.

Our activity plan and charter have not yet been discussed by the NEC, and the meeting with the General Secretary about the union’s website has not yet taken place.

Ian accepted the criticisms and pledged to press these issues.



We passed two resolutions, both from Finsbury Park branch.


1. Mental Health Stigma

We note that reports suggest that one in four people will experience mental ill-health. We further note that for many people, mental ill-health can classify them as a disabled person.

We acknowledge that due to social stigma, it is difficult to speak out about mental ill-health, and that when people do, it helps to break that stigma. When our members speak out about their mental ill-health, they deserve our full support.

We affirm that mocking and belittling people on the grounds of their mental ill-health is unacceptable to this union, and that we will not tolerate this behaviour to or from our members.


2. Mental Health Policy and Action

(The General Secretary had ruled this motion out for reasons unknown, but the branch may appeal this, so we debated and voted on it.)

We note that the union has passed extensive policy on the issue of mental health over recent year. The AGM, NEC, Disabled Members’ Conference and branches have put forward positive and imaginative strategies for demanding improved working conditions for mentally-healthy workplaces.

If all these are carried out, we will achieve significant steps forward on a crucial issue.

We request a detailed report to the Disabled Members’ Advisory Committee of which of these have been carried out and which have yet to be carried out.




TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference, 2021 will take place online in March, with minimal union delegations.


We discussed plans for RMT Disabled Members’ Conference in 2021, considering the pros and cons of a physical vs online event. We agreed to investigate the possibility of a ‘hybrid’ conference which delegates could attend either in person or online, and to make a decision on this at our next meeting. The conference will take place on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 April.



Committee members expressed frustration at the lack of training courses and urged the NEC to schedule more, and to take up the offer of social model training for executive and officers mandated by the 2017 AGM.



We are looking for more ‘Disabled Members Speak Out’ articles for RMT News. Please write one and send to Janine Booth, or contact Janine if you would rather talk than write.



We agreed to hold this in the first week in February. Plans include:

  • sending the KYR card out with RMT News
  • confirming how the cards can be sent out given Covid restrictions
  • urging RMT and branches to put ‘disabled workers: know your rights’ on headed paper during the week, so it appears on correspondence



We discussed Neurodiversity in the Workplace training (we would like a Stage 2 course); Neurodivergent Labour; and Steps Into Work scheme abandoning autistic and learning-disabled students during lockdown.



Members reported on activities and issues, including: Covid shielding; bullying and harassment; successful campaign for accessible transport; branch meetings in accessible venues; and dyslexia-friendly practices.


DMAC MEETINGS 2021      

These will take place on Monday 25 January, Wednesday 7 July and Friday 22 October.