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STUC Disabled Workers' Conference 2023: Usdaw seeks to tackle gender-based violence and poverty

Date: 01 December 2023 Retail trade union Usdaw has a delegation of reps and officials attending the annual Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) Disabled Workers’ Conference in Glasgow, Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 December. The union has submitted motions on tackling gender-based violence against disabled workers, along with building a movement of protest against poverty.
Tracy Gilbert – Usdaw Regional Secretary for Scotland says: “The number of disabled people living in poverty in Scotland has increased in recent years with more than half of all people in poverty living in a household with at least one disabled worker. We reject any suggestion that this is inevitable, poverty and the failure to tackle inequality are political decisions. The disability employment gap in Scotland remains high with disabled women facing even greater discrimination, larger pay gaps and higher unemployment. As well as taking action to offset the immediate impacts of the cost-of-living crisis on disabled people and their families; the Scottish and Westminster governments must also act to address the underlying historical inequalities experienced by disabled people including the disproportionate impact of austerity policies.”
 
Usdaw welcomes the important role the Disabled Workers Committee play setting the record straight and is asking the STUC to:
  • Support the efforts of unions and disabled people’s organisations to tackle disability discrimination and change the way disabled people are viewed, valued and included in Scottish and wider UK society.
  • Campaign for improvements to social security so that as well as protecting disabled workers from poverty, it also prevents poverty; takes into account the significant and additional costs of being disabled; and fully supports independent living.
  • Continue to build a movement of protest against the current cost of living crisis that highlights the specific impact of the current crisis on disabled people and puts their voices centre stage. 
Tracy Gilbert continues: “Studies show that disabled women are disproportionately likely to experience gender-based violence but are far less likely to report it. Workplace trade union reps have a vital role in supporting women workers to recognise and recover from abuse and this is particularly the case for disabled women who are often less able to access appropriate support and to have their voices heard. Changes to domestic violence legislation to include coercive control are important in understanding how specific abuse against disabled women may manifest itself in a variety of ways, for example where the abuser controls someone through their impairment or support needs. We commend the work union reps are doing to support disabled survivors of domestic abuse.”
 
Usdaw is seeking greater recognition by employers of the challenges disabled women face in escaping abuse and is calling on the STUC to:
  • Support affiliated unions to negotiate domestic abuse policies with employers that recognise the specific needs of disabled women workers.   
  • Involve disabled women in developing the trade union and labour movement’s work on gender-based violence. 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 350,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades www.usdaw.org.uk
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers