On the day of the success of the ruling against the WCA-Activists from DPAC and disabled workers attending the TUC Disabled Workers Conference have blocked Tottenham Court Road in an unprecedented act of solidarity.
This Government has repeatedly used the language of division, trying to divide workers and claimants, public and private sectors workers, non-disabled and disabled people. Today we strike back as one, united voice.
The Cuts imposed by the ConDem Government under the cloak of ‘Austerity’ impact on disabled people in every area of life. The scrapping of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and the Independent Living Fund (ILF) will tens of thousands of disabled workers, and will force many of them out of their jobs. Hundreds of thousands of disabled people both receive and deliver public services as workers in Public Service Departments, Local Authorities and the Voluntary Sector. ILF and DLA play critical roles in maintaining people in these jobs. The 1% uplift limit on Benefits, Universal Credit and the Bedroom Tax will impact on many disabled people both in and out of work.
The removal of many of our basic rights affect not just disabled people, but all of us. For example, the removal of Legal Aid for medical negligence claims comes at the same time as every single contract within the Health Service is open to tender by private companies. This has serious and significant implications for each and every one of us who make up the 99%.
But not everyone is being hit by austerity. While multi-nationals like Atos and Capita make fortunes, tax avoidance and evasion to the tune of tens of billions goes uncollected. The wealthiest 1000 UK residents increased their wealth by some 35 billion last year while disabled people and the poorest members of society were pushed into poverty and despair as the targets of brutal cuts.
Disabled activists have led the fightback against this Government since the beginning, and today disabled activists and workers lead the way again in the first joint, co-ordinated direct action by campaigners and unions on the streets of the U.K.
Shabnam O Saughnessy from DPAC said: “We are delighted to be joined on the streets today by our union comrades. This represents the first steps towards uniting resistance from communities and workplaces. It dispels the myth of disabled people as scroungers and workshy. We are not some separate group of others, we are your friends and neighbours, we work alongside you. Many millions of disabled people are being affected by cuts, and today is about getting our voices heard.”
Sean McGovern, co-chair of the TUC disabled workers committee said: “Trade unionists would like to send a clear message to this government that trade unions, workers and grass roots disabled groups stand together against the onslaught of vicious cuts rained down upon us by the Condems.”
DPAC and disabled workers from the TUC conference block Tottenham Court Road 22nd May
1) Disabled People Against Cuts is a national campaign led by disabled people to oppose the attacks on disabled people being carried out under austerity. www.dpac.co.uk
2) The 2013 TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference takes place on 22-23 May. The TUC Disabled Workers committee recently rejected an invitation to join the government’s new Disability Action Alliance on the grounds that involvement would restrict the TUC’s ability to campaign against government policies that are affecting disabled people.
For more information contact Ellen Clifford on 07505144371 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For updates see twitter: @Dis_PPL_Protest
and Disabled People against Cuts Face book Group
We previously incorrectly attributed a quote to Mandy Hudson that was said by Sean McGovern. This has now been corrected after we were alerted to this by Sean (26th May)