Friday 24 November 2017

Kathleen speaks out at the STUC disabled workers conference

Kathleen Kennedy
Kathleen Kennedy, Vice President had a busy time as she represented the ATUC at the STUC disabled workers’ conference in November.

As well as moving the ATUC motion  Kathleen spoke in three other debates.

She said, “It was a sheer delight to be there participating on behalf of the North East of Scotland.

“Throughout the conference, there was a lot of enthusiasm that was infectious and you could see how everyone was willing to take part and encouraged each other to do so.

“As disability and work related issues is one of my specialist areas I was determined to take part.”

The ATUC motion called on the STUC to look at giving additional speaking time to people with communication disabilities at STUC conferences and to encourage other affiliated unions to do this also.

Kathleen said, “This is something that I am very passionate about as I have noticed in many conferences I have attended that I am sometimes the only person or one of only a few people with a communication disability speaking. I felt it was very important that we encourage and enable more people with communication disabilities to feel able to take part.”

The motion was approved and was put to the STUC Disabled Workers Committee to implement.

Kathleen also spoke in support of three other motions:

1) Mandatory Disability Awareness Training
“In supporting the motion I spoke on an experience I had had with a taxi driver, thinking I had been drunk and refusing to take me. Ironically, I had not had any alcohol but he did not listen - another taxi driver took me home! I was amazed just many other delegates could relate to this story! It just illustrates how important Mandatory Disability Awareness Training is for every worker.”

2) Workplace Injuries and Disability
“I supported this motion to show that the cutbacks in Health and Safety officers make a huge different to all workers but more to a disabled worker. Simple things, for example if your computer is under the desk and your phone or mouse etc needs plugged into it, can be an accident just waiting to happen as if there is a cable hanging down someone less steady of their feet could easily catch their feet in it and fall. Therefore, Health & Safety reps are so important!”

3) Promotion of Disabled Workers
“When I spoke in support of this motion, I opened with the question 'Just what is promotion?' I explain how despite having a degree and several other qualifications I am so often told I do not meet the minimum criteria as I do not have good communications - despite being a public speaker! It makes me laugh!”

Kathleen added, “I thoroughly enjoyed this conference and felt we managed to discuss many important issues throughout.

Kathleen was elected unopposed  to the Trade Union Council seat on the STUC Disabled Workers Committee and was also elected unopposed to the STUC Congress as one of two reps from the conference.