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Trade unions must mobilise to support disabled people in securing a “better deal” in workplaces and from the UK government, says the TUC.

TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said the new Conservative Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, “must show respect for those who want to work and compassion for those who can’t”.

“A good place for the new government to start would be restoring the Access to Work budget so that disabled people get support for the full cost of the workplace adaptations they need”, said Frances O’Grady.

“And, more fundamentally, the government needs to explain exactly how it will keep its promise that the planned £12bn worth of welfare cuts won’t hurt disabled people.”

Data shows that “less than half of disabled people are in employment, compared to three-quarters of the population as a whole. But many more want work”.

She said a growing number of disabled people have “self-organised resistance” over the last five years. “It has been inspiring. And I’m proud that the TUC and trade unions have been a key part of that mass movement.”

Frances O’Grady added: “In the months ahead, I want us to make that mobilisation for change even bigger and better.

“I am confident that, if we stick together, campaign together and organise together, disabled people can win a better deal. Many more disabled people can have the chance to participate and progress in the workplace with decent pay, training and promotion.”

Her comments were made on the opening day of the TUC’s annual Disabled Workers’ Conference at Congress House, London.

Around 200 disabled delegates will be attending the congress to debate policies and priorities for the TUC on disability issues.