More disabled workers risk losing their jobs in public sector cut backs, warns TUC

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date: 24 January 2011

embargo: 00.01hrs Wednesday 26 January 2011

The TUC has today (Wednesday) published a new guide for union reps to help them better support and represent disabled people at work.

Official statistics suggest that job losses during the recent recession did not disproportionately affect disabled people, but the TUC is concerned this will change when the government's spending cuts begin to bite. This because a higher proportion of disabled people work in the public than in the private sector.

The TUC fears that government plans to slash public spending will lead to increased unemployment for disabled people, and that the progress disabled people have made getting into decent work will be at best stalled, and at worst put into reverse.

Disability and Work: A trade union guide to the law and good practice contains advice and information across a range of topics, including challenging disability discrimination, the equality duty, recruitment procedures, sickness absence, redundancy, health and safety, mental health, and training.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'The government's swingeing cuts in public services could see many disabled workers lose their jobs. Union reps will now, more than ever, need to be prepared to support and represent disabled people at work, and ensure they receive fair treatment.

'Disabled people continue to face severe barriers to participation and equality across society. Unions can help to challenge these by tackling discrimination at work, negotiating good policy, and ensuring that employers adopt a positive approach to the employment of disabled people.

'We hope the government will do everything it can to support disabled people, and give them access to decent work and equal treatment.'

The TUC's previous guidance to disability at work was so popular that it had to be reprinted twice. This new version has been published to reflect the changes in the law (as a result of the Equality Act 2010) and the new economic circumstances.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- Disability and Work: A trade union guide to the law and good practice is available at www.tuc.org.uk/extras/disabilityandwork.pdf

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: media@tuc.org.uk
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: rholdsworth@tuc.org.uk
Elly Gibson T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: egibson@tuc.org.uk

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