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MU Success at TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference

The Musicians’ Union (MU) is delighted to have attended the TUC’s Disabled Workers’ Conference, with delegates John and Heidi representing MU members

The Musicians’ Union (MU) is delighted to have attended the TUC’s Disabled Workers’ Conference, with delegates John Kelly and Heidi McGeough representing MU members.

Heidi moved the MU’s motion calling on the TUC Disabled Workers Committee to lobby Arts Council England to conduct research into why disabled employees are underrepresented, and begin to create enabling strategies to encourage and increase workforce diversity.

In her speech to Conference, Heidi said “According to the annual population survey, the percentage of the working age population with some form of disability is 19%.  None of these arts organisations had this number of disabled staff and some had none at all!”

“This does not just apply to performers, but also people who work for these organisations.”

“As these organisations are funded by the ACE which is publicly funded, i.e. us, they should be representative of the working population i.e. us. That’s why it’s so important you support this motion.”

Speaking in support of the MU’s motion, Equity delegate Phoebe Kemp said, “Seeing disabled people creating and performing art is so important because it changes the way society sees us”.

“The arts have been allowed for too long to say a disabled workforce just isn't there. It's damaging not just for disabled people but for the whole of society. We can be anything in that industry but we aren't," added a delegate from the National Union of Journalists who also spoke in support.

Speakers from the National Union of Teachers, UNSION and Public and Commercial Services Union also supported the motion, which passed unanimously.

MU Motion to Disabled Workers’ Conference in Full

Disabled Workers

Arts Council England’s latest diversity report revealed that 26 of the largest National Portfolio organisations, the organisations that receive Arts Council funding, had no disabled employees at all on their permanent staff.  

No National Portfolio organisation had a percentage of disabled staff that was representative of the working population. The figure has improved since 2015 when disabled people made up just 1.9% of NPO employees but it is still not enough.

National and publically funded arts organisations must do more to nurture performers with disabilities to create inclusive, accessible workplaces and ensure disabled workers have the opportunity to be represented at every level of their organisations.

Workforce diversity does not form part of National Portfolio Organisations’  ‘diversity ratings’, the funding-conditional benchmarks that must be achieved in order to avoid financial sanctions.

Conference asks the TUC Disabled Workers Committee to lobby Arts Council England to conduct research to discover why disabled employees are underrepresented and, working constructively with NPO’s, begin to create enabling strategies to encourage and increase workforce diversity.


Published: 19/05/2017

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