Disability day of action

Day of action for disability equality in education

I would like to thank you for taking part in our second year of activity to raise awareness for disability equality in education which fell on the last day of strike action for branches in HE on pay, equality and pensions.

Many branches around the country undertook action for the day - a few examples are highlighted here that included staging teach-outs/teach-ins with members sharing personal lived experiences of the challenges of being disabled at work and gaining reasonable adjustments, talks on knowing and understanding your rights, disability history, impact on mental health and living and working with hidden disabilities to raising awareness of the disability pay gap. London region organised a very successful rally that included speakers from UCU, NEU and disabled people's organisations that combined the day of action and lent support for HE members taking strike action. 

Discussions were held on picket lines about disability inequality, challenges and barriers for both staff and students, not forgetting the many tweets sent in support of this annual event.  Please see below branch activity on our wall of action.

Although the day of action is over, our work is not. The looming general election will either see further cuts to services and support for disabled people or a move toward righting the wrongs of the last 10 years of austerity. The DMSC will continue to use our influence to change attitudes and perceptions and to continue to challenge the barriers disabled people face daily at work.

#Includeus

Elane Heffernan
Chair of Disabled members standing committee and NEC FE Rep

Read our disability day of action briefing here

Day of Action briefing 2019 [77kb]   Day of Action briefing 2019 large print [688kb]

Download our day of action publicity flyers here

Day of Action publicity flyer one [42kb]   Day of Action publicity flyer two [36kb]

The following actions are suggested:

  1. Nothing about us without us! - Branches should ensure that the planning of any event should and must involve disabled members.  This is important as the lived experiences of disabled members can strengthen branch organisation and participation and disabled members can feed their perspectives into all UCU campaigns, locally and nationally. 
  2. Use our disability equality resources to campaign and understand the issues facing disabled people:
    Reasonable adjustment passport [530kb]
    Making adjustments work: adjustment passport policy [197kb]
    Disclosing a disability [360kb]
    Disability awareness toolkit [276kb]
    Campaigning for accessible and inclusive workplaces [127kb]
    Enabling not disabling [372kb]
  3. Look at the barriers to disabled people in the workplace in different ways, for example, through the lens of being a disabled LGBT+ person or a disabled black person.
  4. Watch our film on the social model of disability and discuss how branches can adopt the social model
  5. Display our range of posters or hand out our leaflets
    Disability day of action leaflet: £3000 less earned [419kb]
    Disability day of action leaflet: 16% pay gap [350kb]
    Disability day of action leaflet: 57 days free [337kb]
    Disability day of action leaflet: would you work 57 days for nothing [430kb]
    Disability equality statistics [67kb]
    Disability Day of Action Poster 1 [196kb]
    Disability Day of Action Poster 2 [231kb]
    Disability Day of Action Poster 3 [226kb]
    Disability Day of Action Poster 4 [165kb]
    Disability wall chart [4mb]
  6. Work with H&S reps to conduct risk assessments of your institution to address issues of inaccessibility
  7. Host meetings to discuss how branches can work alongside institutions to address and challenge negative stereotypes in the workplace
  8. This is an inclusive campaign - work with campus unions and student unions to raise awareness of issues
  9. Ask everyone in the branch to take a solidarity selfie using one of these posters and tweet support [678kb] of the campaign using the hashtag #Includeus on social media platforms and upload pictures: www.ucu.org.uk/disabilityequality
  10. Share your ideas and actions with everyone eqadmin@ucu.org.uk

#includeus 2019


During Disability History Month 2018

UCU held its first day of action for disability equality in education, on 21 November 2018, which kicked off our action for Disability History Month 2018.

Initiated by UCU's Disabled Members' Standing Committee, the day of action is all about organising against discrimination and will focus on the challenges and barriers faced by disabled people in education. 

This is an inclusive campaign. We have built a coalition of organisations to work together. In particular especially our sister unions at our institutions - NEU, UNITE, UNISON and NUS—but also we are working with the TUC disabled members committee, Disabled People against the Cuts & Alliance For inclusive Education. The day culminated in a meeting in parliament.

Read our Disability Day of Action briefing [62kb] on the following four priority areas:   

  1. time limits for the implementation of reasonable adjustments
  2. a review of building regulations to ensure they meet the accessibility needs of disabled people
  3. a statutory right to disability leave
  4. the right for disabled people to access mainstream education and a reversal of cuts to SEND provision.

As part of this campaign, we are asking you to write to your MP on improving equality for disabled staff and students in education in the above areas.  Order your postcards by emailing eqadmin@ucu.org.uk

Disability Day of Action [757kb]

Nothing about us without us!

On the 2018 day of action UCU worked with Marsha De Cordova the Labour Shadow for Disabled People, to host a parliamentary meeting to speak with cross-party MPs on improving equality for disabled staff in education. UNISON, UNITE, NEU, NUS, TUC, DPAC & ALFIE were all involved.  As part of this meeting, we called for:

  • time limits for the implementation of reasonable adjustments
  • a review of building regulations to ensure they meet the accessibility needs of disabled people

  • a statutory right to disability leave

  • the right for disabled people to access mainstream education and a reversal of cuts to SEND provision.


Getting involved

Posters
Disability equality stats [67kb] 
Day of action poster 1 [196kb]
Day of action poster 2 [231kb]
Day of action poster 3 [226kb]
Day of action poster 4 [165kb]

Members and branches are encouraged to continue to raise awareness of disability discrimination (e.g. lack of physical access, refusal of reasonable adjustments & disability leave) and to work with institutions and student union groups for increased participation and improvement of disability rights within structures, employment and access to support and services. We hope that by increasing organisation around disability discrimination we will have fewer members needing support in casework in the future and more disabled members involved and active in our branches.

Branches are encouraged to undertake any activity that encapsulates highlighting the challenges and barriers faced by disabled people, as well as the gains made, especially during Disability History Month (19 November - 22 December) and our annual day of action.

Below we have outlined a few suggestions to help get the ball rolling! This includes but is not limited to:

1.  Displaying the UCU disability wall chart

2.  Hosting a meeting to discuss how branches can work alongside the institutions and campus unions and student groups to see how best disabled staff and students can be supported by:

  • involving and inviting disabled people to speak on workplace issues
  • devising an action plan of how branches can work toward raising awareness and challenge the barriers faced by disabled people
  • watch our film discussing the social model of disability and discuss how branches can adopt the social model of disability (https://youtu.be/Do6U1j1vRYU)
  • discuss how branches can challenge negative stereotypes and promote positive images of disabled people
  • establish a disabled worker network.

3.  The social media element of the campaign aims to get as many members as possible to show support in a simple, quick and effective way. Download and take a photograph with our range of selfie posters (see below) or make your own and tweet your support to @UCUequality using the hashtag #IncludeUs

  • complete and tweet the following statement 'I am supporting UCU's Day of Action for Disabled People because...'
  • help to get the hashtag #IncludeUs trending on twitter!
  • encourage colleagues to write on our 'see the person' downloadable poster the attitudes, barriers or challenges they face daily as a disabled person; or, as a non-disabled person, that they see disabled people face. 

Selfie poster: See the Person [367kb]
Selfie poster: See the Person [56kb]

Selfie poster: Supporting the campaign [474kb]
Selfie poster: Supporting the campaign [40kb]

Selfie poster: Campaign poster [76kb]
Selfie poster: Campaign poster [47kb]

You can find our disability equality resources here.

Branches can let us know what activity they will be doing as part of this campaign by sending an email to eqadmin@ucu.org.uk with details, pictures, etc.

Last updated: 6 December 2019