26/02/2010 - Solidarity support disabled workers

“AS a trade unionist, I find it hard to believe that disabled people are still being discriminated against. It’s disgraceful and unethical. It goes against the grain. We should be helping the most needy and vulnerable – not hindering them.”

That was the response of Solidarity National Executive member Simone Clarke to the news that a leading disabilities charity found that disabled people faced greater discrimination at work with employers more likely to make them redundant during the economic crisis than non-disabled workers.

Ms. Clarke was responding to a report from Leonard Cheshire Disability - – which also found levels of poverty among disabled people with dependent children.

Disability and the Downturn uncovered the following startling facts:

Fifty-two per cent of 1,253 respondents felt that they had experienced discrimination in the workplace in the past year - an increase of 11 per cent since 2007.

43 per cent of respondents also reported they had been turned down for a job because of their impairment - an increase of 7 per cent since 2008.

And that three-quarters of all respondents with dependent children said that they were living below the poverty line.

Ms. Clarke said:

“Late last month I called on the government to invest in peace – and not war. Finding money for missiles, bombs and bullets seems to be no problem.  But finding money for schools, hospitals and jobs can’t be done!

In that instance I was calling on the government to invest in community arts – dance, music, film and literature. But it could equally apply to supporting those with disabilities who want to work and raise their families.” 

Simone also pointed out that Alistair Darling – the Chancellor of the Exchequer - should be getting a windfall soon:

“More than 350 MPs have been ordered to repay over £1 million following an inquiry into their expense claims over the past five years by Sir Thomas Legg.
Maybe the money that they’ve fraudulently claimed for trouser presses, pouffes, moats, Maltesers and houses could be directed towards helping the disabled. In doing so, at least these greedy pigs (aka MPs) would be providing a useful service.”