Unions and using the Equality Duty
The TUC is a member of the DLA and has provided us with a number of examples from officers of trade unions within public authorities, which illustrate how trade unions have been able to secure greater equality of opportunity for public sector employees and service users using their established negotiating arrangements to secure compliance with the PSED:
- “The various existing Civil Service Pension Schemes are being replaced by a new Career Average Scheme, and members of the current schemes will be moving into the new scheme. As part of the equality impact process the FDA identified a problem for people moving from the Premium scheme to the new scheme, because their death in service protection would fall from 3 times salary to 2 times salary. This would have an unintended adverse impact on those with potentially life-shortening illnesses. The Cabinet Office has agreed that some additional safeguards are needed for this group of people and are now working with the unions on the detail. This would not have been identified were it not for a structured process to consider potential impacts on particular groups of staff.” FDA
- “An example of how we have used equality monitoring to help compliance with the equality duties is our work on the Redeployment Pool. We receive information every quarter on its operation.... and we monitor by equality and diversity categories. In recent years, this has shown that contrary to MOD policy and the public sector duty requirements MOD disabled employees are twice as likely as others to find themselves in the Redeployment Pool. In fact when we started digging it became apparent that disabled employees were not more likely to be placed in the Redeployment Pool but it was taking longer for them to be redeployed than other staff. This was because of the way the cost of reasonable adjustments fell entirely on the new employing division. It was agreed that these costs would be better shared and where necessary covered by a central pool to encourage better employment opportunities for disabled people within MOD.” Prospect, Equality Officer
- “Recently the Ministry of Defence decided, as part of its green initiative, to shut down two of their banks of lifts in the headquarters building, and to reduce the time over which these lift were operating. The unions challenged this, as part of the PSED, and pointed out the impact this would have on disabled members of staff, as a result of which the policy was reversed.” FDA, National Officer and Equality Officer.
- Disabled access and audio loops have been installed in all public buildings. Prospect representative, Scottish public authority.
- “Improved antisocial behaviour policies, improved services to disabled tenants who may need rehousing for reasons related to their disability, increased awareness of issues for all groups and improved community cohesion.” UNISON
* Source: Submission to the Review of the Public Sector Equality Duty, Call for Evidence[April 2013] : Discrimination Law Association