Socialist Worker

Annual TUC disabled workers' conference backs action

by Roddy Slorach
Issue No. 2406

Almost 200 delegates attended the annual TUC disabled workers conference in London last week. Guest speakers John McDonnell MP and Ellen Clifford from DPAC stressed the need to oppose Ukip and ant-immigrant racism, and for disabled people to support strikes to build the wider fight against austerity.

Kate Green, shadow minister for disabled people, was less enthusiastically received. She promised a Labour government would abolish the bedroom tax and ‘reform’ the Work Capability Assessment, but failed to even mention cuts to benefits such as the Disability Living Allowance.

Frustration and anger at the lack of an alternative from Labour was a constant theme of the debates. Several delegates gave moving testimony about the human cost of the cuts, and how this is feeding into a culture of systematic bullying and harassment in the workplace.

A series of motions over these issues were passed, most of them   unanimously, as were two emergency motions, in defence of the Independent Living Fund and opposing cuts in the Disabled Students Allowance.

Best received of all was a speech from an RMT delegate. She explained that, behind the media outrage about the recent tube strikes, London Underground workers bear the brunt of passengers’ frustration at delays and overcrowding due to chronic underfunding. She also described how strikers had been inspired by groups of disabled people joining picket lines during the action.

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Tue 3 Jun 2014, 17:56 BST
Issue No. 2406
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