Category Archives: disability discrimination

Jobs for disabled workers up 70%

There has been a 70 per cent increase in the number of disabled workers recruited into mainstream jobs during the first three months of the year, representing a record high and indicative of changing attitudes towards disabled works in the UK.

The increase shows that more disabled workers are finding work alongside able-bodied colleagues, suggesting that employers may be doing more to accommodate disabled workers and exploit the talent that is available.

Bob Warner of Remploy, the company that published the statistics, asserted that positive change is being put into effect in the area of disability in the workplace.”

These new figures show that investing in preparing and training disabled people for mainstream employment works,” he said.

Mr Warner continued to state that on the whole, disabled workers prefer to work in a mainstream environment where they can make the most of their skills and assets.”

Disabled people tell us that they would prefer to work in open employment with non-disabled colleagues and employers are now more aware of the skills and abilities disabled people bring to their business,” he explained.

Visit the Remploy website

Remploy HR director hits back at claims she should resign over her handling of the factory closure announcements

Remploy’s HR director has hit back at union jibes that she should resign over the way her team handled the announcement of factory closures.

Last week the GMB union, which represents the majority of workers at Remploy, accused the HR team of mismanaging the announcement by using DVDs and failing to answer questions.

About 2,500 mainly disabled staff will be affected when 32 manufacturing sites are closed and 11 are merged with others. But Anne Jessopp, executive director of HR at Remploy, said the union’s reaction was “very disappointing”.

“We would rather the union wasn’t making these kinds of comments, but it’s our job to get on with things,” she said.

Jessopp rejected the GMB’s accusations of mismanagement by the HR team.

“We communicated with employees using [sign language] DVDs, on-site signers, face-to-face, and with leaflets and letters,” she told Personnel Today. “Then we took staff into smaller groups and answered any questions they had.”

She said professional counsellors were on hand to provide support, as well as senior managers, and a staff helpline had been set up.

Jessopp guaranteed there would be no compulsory redundancies among disabled staff, who would have the option to work for local employers on their existing terms and conditions.

Last week the GMB voted for industrial action at Remploy’s factories. Jessopp described the decision as “premature”, and said it would have a detrimental effect on the organisation’s customers. A meeting between management and the union consortium is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday).

Former Remploy HR director hits out

The decision to close factories has been criticised by Remploy’s former HR director Ray Fletcher. In a letter to the Guardian last week, Fletcher said the closure would “narrow the options” open to disabled people who want to enter the workplace.

Fletcher is now HR director at the Unite ‘super-union’ – which also represents Remploy workers – so perhaps should declare a vested interest.

This story was first published in Personnel Today

Government calls on employers to hire more disabled people and help aid their social inclusion

The government has called on employers to hire more disabled people and help aid their social inclusion.

Employers can play a key role in ensuring that disabled people are able to play a full part in society through employment by preventing ill-health and injury, and providing appropriate support in the workplace.

Department for Work and Pensions minister Lord McKenzie said today: “Increasing the number of disabled people in mainstream employment has the potential to tear down the last barriers to social inclusion for disabled people.

“Just as important as getting disabled people into work is keeping people in work and preventing them from falling out of work in the first place.”

McKenzie said he wanted to see employers develop supportive cultures that allow staff with health problems and impairments to work, making the necessary adjustments to help them do so.

“Mostly these adjustments will be neither as difficult nor as expensive as people think. But clearly we have an important job ahead to engage, educate and support employers,” he said.

This story was first published in Personnel Today

Investing in disabled people’s skills could boost the economy by £35 billion

Improving the skills of disabled people to world class levels by 2020 would boost the economy by £35 billion over 30 years, equivalent to 18 months growth, and help tackle child poverty, argues SMF Chief Economist Stephen Evans in a new report, Disability, Skills and Work: Raising our ambitions, published by the Social Market Foundation in association with the Disability Rights Commission.

The report argues that, as well as the benefits from raising the skills rate of disabled people to world class levels, improving the employment rate of disabled people to the UK average through skills improvements would give a boost to the economy of some £13 billion, equivalent to six months economic growth.

To achieve this prize Disability, Skills and Work recommends:
• A national commitment to reducing the relative skills gap between disabled people and the national average
• Employers be required to take greater responsibility, aided by improved support, but backed by tough new legal duties if progress falls short
• Out of work disabled people be given much greater opportunity to improve their skills as a route back to work

These proposals would not only result in increased productivity and employment, but also help tackle poverty, in particular child poverty.

Children from deprived backgrounds often risk becoming trapped in a cycle of disadvantage. Given one in three children living in poverty in Britain has a disabled parent, the report contends that transforming the employment prospects of disabled people by investing in their skills must be a central part of the Governments efforts to end child poverty by 2020.

Commenting, author of the report, Stephen Evans said:

“The size of the challenge is daunting. But the scale of the prize is huge and the cost of inaction is mounting by the day through wasted talent. The past decade has shown how empowering disabled people and supporting employers can work. The next decade needs to see a step change in this approach and a dramatic boost to the skills of disabled people.”

Agnes Fletcher, Director of Policy and Communications at the Disability Rights Commission, said:

“Despite rising levels of employment for disabled people over recent years, too many are still without jobs and living in poverty as a result. Supplying disabled people with the skills they need is the missing link between ending child poverty, boosting the economy and getting more people off benefits and back into work. As this report shows, investing in disabled people’s skills is a win/win situation for Government, creating massive dividends for the economy and delivering greater equality at the same time.”