National Disabled Members' Conference 2019 Resolutions

Circular No: NP/231/19
Our Ref: EO/27
29 October 2019


TO ALL BRANCHES, REGIONAL OFFICES & REGIONAL COUNCILS


Dear Colleague,

THE NATIONAL DISABLED MEMBERS’ CONFERENCE 2019 REPORT

I write with regards to the above matter and to inform you that the resolutions which were passed at this year’s National Disabled Members’ Conference have been considered by the union’s National Executive Committee. The resolutions together with the NEC decisions are as follows:

i) Personality Testing

“The conference notes that:

1. many employers use various forms of personality testing for applicants for jobs and promotions
2. these may be called 'psychometric tests', 'situational judgement tests' or something else
3. employers use these tests as they are multiple-choice and can be marked by computers, so are cheap to use
4. in Brookes vs Government Legal Services, the Tribunal (and subsequent Appeals Tribunal) found that one such test discriminated against an autistic applicant and recommended that the employer review its use

This conference believes that:

1. these tests are subjective and designed to select applicants on social conformity rather than on aptitude at the job
2. these tests are discriminatory against autistic, otherwise neurodivergent and other disabled applicants
3. the aspiration to create a socially-homogeneous workforce is oppressive

This conference asks the union to:

1. table to all companies which use these tests a demand that they stop doing so
2. support members in complaining against the discrimination inherent in these tests
3. raise this issue with our Parliamentary group.”


National Executive Committee decision:

“We note the sentiment of the resolution. We instruct the General Secretary to write to companies asking them to review their use of psychometric testing bringing to their attention the case law on the matter. The General Secretary is also to contact the TUC for further information on the matter. This file is to be placed back before the NEC with any responses by the December statutory meeting.”

ii) Disabilities Officers

“This Branch calls upon the NDMAC to support their motion to establish the role of Disabilities Officer, to support the increasing number of members with disabilities, at Branch and Regional Level.

The Branch recognises the much improved range of courses our Union now provides to support reps and members in gaining knowledge about a wide range of disabilities.

This Branch believes that having better trained and supported reps is good for all of our membership.

We feel this role will put training to good use and give members an “in house” point of contact for support.

We believe a Head Office Circular with input from the NDMAC would motivate Branches and Regions to establish this role.”

National Executive Committee decision:

“We note the resolution and instruct the General Secretary to inform branches and regions that they are encouraged to create the post of Disabilities Officer.”

iii) Reasonable Adjustments

“This conference demands that employers make workplaces and working conditions accessible to all workers. While adjustments are useful for disabled workers, we would prefer accessible working environments where adjustments are not needed.

While disabled workers continue to need adjustments, we support them in having these adjustments made.

We note that many disabled workers struggle long and hard to get the adjustments they need, only to have to start all over again when they move job or location, or when a new manager takes over.

We welcome the TUC Disabled Workers' Conference policy in support of 'reasonable adjustments passports' to overcome this problem, and ask the union to negotiate this with all employers.”

Note: This was submitted to the AGM.

National Executive Committee decision:

“We instruct the General Secretary to take up in line with the resolution.”

iv) Employers’ Mental Health Campaigns

“This conference notes that:

1. More and more employers are running ‘mental health awareness’ campaigns
2. However, those same employers continue to damage workers’ mental health, through anti-social hours, low pay, insecure employment, management bullying, exposure to trauma at work, etc

This conference resolves that the union run its own campaigning in support of workers’ mental health, against distressing working conditions and independently of employers.”

National Executive Committee decision:

“We note the sentiments of the resolution and that the union does run its own campaign but on occasion joins in with employers on joint mental health awareness campaigns.”

v) Work Programmes for Learning Disabled and/or Autistic People

“This conference welcomes the initiatives by some employers in setting up programmes for learning disabled and/or autistic people to learn work skills, for example Transport for London's 'Steps Into Work'.

However, we note that these are often unpaid.

We do not accept that learning disabled and autistic people are less entitled to pay while they are working and studying than apprentices are.

We ask the union to table to every employer which runs such a scheme a demand that participants are paid.”

National Executive Committee decision:

“We instruct the General Secretary to carry out in line with the resolution.”

vi) Mental Health Awareness

“Leeds City believes that the RMT should place pressure and influence on those companies that do not currently sign up to the above to do so, and, implement a procedure within their company that will recognise and offer help and support any of our members who are suffering from mental health issues.

It is our belief that all companies should sign up, and adhere to, the rules and principles of mental health awareness at a time when mental health issues appear to be increasing within the workforces of many companies.

By not signing up to these principles they are denying our member an avenue and the facilities to get help with their problems. This often leads to employees saying nothing to anyone about their issues. Often until it is too late.

No caring company should have any problem with signing up to this as the benefits are two-fold, helping their employees, our members, stay healthy in both body and mind results in a workforce that does not take time off sick attending work on a regular basis.”

Note: This was submitted to the AGM.

National Executive Committee decision:

“We instruct the General Secretary to merge this file with the main Mental Health File and further instruct the General Secretary to take this matter up in line with the resolution.”

vii) Know Your Rights Campaign

“That the South East Essex Branch notes that there are an increasing number of members contacting reps and branch officials seeking advice on disability and long term issues regarding medical conditions.

The South East Essex Branch feels that the best weapons to arm our union activists in this situation is education and information.

The South East Essex Branch calls upon the National Executive Committee to support the “Know Your Rights” disability campaign initiated by the LRT Region by;

A: Funding the pocket sized “Know Your Rights” disability advice cards for all branches and activists.

B: Electing Regional Disability Officers and encouraging all branches to support this campaign by electing Disability Officers at both Branch and Regional level with a view to establishing help, support and representation for members seeking advice on how to gain reasonable adjustments within the workplace.

C: Promoting this campaign nationally and for this to be rolled out nationally via the Bob Crow National Education Centre, which will ensure all reps are educated on just what is reasonable when members seek adjustments at work.

D: Organising regional training events for members who may have mobility issues and are unable to travel to Doncaster, around “Disability Issues - Know Your Rights” to educate members, reps & activists on their legal rights and how to exercise them.”

National Executive Committee decision:

“That we note the resolution and agree with the sentiments and support the campaign and its implementation. Regional training is provided following consultation with the regional council via the Education Officer.”

I will now be acting on the instructions of these decisions and I will, of course, keep you fully advised on any further developments. I would be grateful if you could bring the contents of this circular to the attention of your members.

Yours sincerely,

Mick Cash
General Secretary