The TUC Disabled Workers Conference took place online as a virtual even between 22 - 23 March. Member Nigel Braithwaite moved the MU’s Motion ‘Reforming Access to Work’, and this was seconded by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).
Nigel also seconded an NUJ motion on 'digital accreditation as a reasonable adjustment in sports journalism' on the same day.
Our other delegates included members Ben Lunn, Baluji Shrivastav.
In Nigels speech, he commented:
“Since medical retirement from the Medical Devices world I have thrown myself back into my first loves of playing and teaching the French horn; I rejoined the MU after a gap of a few years. Since rejoining I began to participate in the Union’s disabled members network meetings which led me to believe that disabled musicians get a pretty rough deal, particularly affecting those of us who are self employed.”
“Over the last 10 years I have become increasingly aware that Access to Work is actually not that accessible. In fact it is completely inaccessible unless you have a job; this affects not just job seekers but the self-employed (freelance musicians or anyone working in a gig economy).”
“We believe that the support available through Access to Work is essential for some young disabled musicians to enter the music profession and where disability may occur mid-career, enable others to continue working in the profession”.
You can read the highlights from Nigel’s speech via our Twitter thread below.
Reforming Access to Work Motion
Conference stated to the TUC that:
“While many disabled people have benefited from the [current Access to Work] scheme, it is out of step with the current employment market. Disabled people can only apply for Access to Work once they have secured a job not to help them look for work. This puts disabled job seekers at a huge disadvantage”.
It also added that:
“Self-employed workers face additional barriers securing Access to Work due to the variability of their work and income. Members have reported difficulties securing support for administrative work that is essential to running a business”.
Conference asked the TUC to lobby Government to:
- Make Access to Work available to disabled job seekers
- Streamline the application process to tackle waiting times
- Remove the annual cap 22
- Be more flexible and responsive in the support offered.