GMB union Equalities event for Disabled workers

The Disabled Workers Group currently meet every 6-8 weeks

29 April 2021

GMB union Disabled Group held online event as part of Union Equality

The regions Disabled Workers Group held their first event on Microsoft Teams this week. The event saw some of our disabled activists sharing their experiences in work, while travelling and also had some practical guidance around benefit advice.

We started with Dave Flanagan from GMB union Reachout who gave advice on negotiating the P.I.P. process which so many disabled people have had struggles with. It can be very difficult to make a successful application due to the Tory Government implementing changes to the application process, Dave told us of some of the cases he has been able to support in ensuring they get what they are entitled to where they had previously been refused.

GMB Reachout

Joe Smith an ex Remploy disabled worker told us about the York Disabled Workers, a Co-operative owned and run by disabled workers. They can produce flags, banners and other items for branches and are always grateful for any work passed their way.

GMB union York disabled group

Andrew Wennell shared some of his experiences of trying to access public transport as a partially sighted disabled person and it seems there is a lot of work our travel companies could do to make it easier for those with a disability to get from A to B.

Emma Craig told us about the challenges faced by families with children who require Early Years Healthcare Plans and the difficulties they can sometimes face ensuring their child has a care plan that adequately deals with their individual needs.

The event was held on Workers Memorial Day so we took a few moments of reflection to remember those GMB trade union members who had sadly lost their lives, Regional Secretary Paul McCarthy spoke of the importance of ‘Remember the Dead, Fight for the Living’ and the impact of austerity cuts on GMB union members and the wider community.

We were delighted to be joined by Peter Street, an author and Poet who could not read and write until his thirties. In his sixties he was told he was autistic, a condition he had lived with all his life but had never had a diagnosis. He shared some of his amusing anecdotes from one of his jobs as a young grave digger, he has had some of his work published and has new work coming out in October.

The event was very enjoyable and informative and I can’t wait to see what the next event will be.

The Disabled Workers Group currently meet every 6-8 weeks on Microsoft Teams, the group is open to any GMB trade union member in the North West and Irish region who identifies as having a disability.

Further information from

Lisa Ryan

GMB union Equality Officer

North West & Irish Region

GMB union Equalities event for disabled workers

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