Aberdeenshire UNISON

National Disabled Members' Conference 2016

'Nae bad for an Aberdeenshire lass!'
Active at conference and elected as a delegate to next year's national conferences and Standing Orders Committee

Kathleen Kennedy
Kathleen speaking at this year's National Disabled Members Conference

Here Branch Equalities Officer, Kathleen Kennedy reports back from the National Disabled Members' Conference 2016.

"I was honoured and amazed to find myself co-chairing 2 meetings and a workshop in Brighton at a National UNISON Conference! To me it seemed impossible but that is exactly what I did at the National Disabled Members Conference this year!

"I co-chaired the Women Caucus meeting, the Scottish Delegate meeting and the workshop 'Don't target me I'm disabled'  which was basically looking at workplace reorganisations and discrimation.

"I enjoyed all three although they were all very different and hard work. 

"Our chairperson in Aberdeenshire Kate Ramsden is a great role model for me and I hope to work as hard as Kate and deliver outcomes to the same high standard.

"There were a lot of motions tabled around mental health issues as they are so relevant and need to be discussed in an open forum. I  moved the amendment on 'Reasonable Adjustments and Sickness Absence Policies' and how it is important for Disabled Members to be able to attend disability related medical leave without it being classed as sick leave. 

" Branches need to negotiate UNISON model of Disability Leave with employers.  Both the motion and the amendment were passed.

" The Annual National Disabled Members Conference nominates two delegates to go to each of six service group conferences (Community, WET and Energy, Health, Higher Education, Local Government, and Police and Justice) for the following year on their behalf.

" The conference also elects two delegates to go to the National Delegate Conference in Brighton in June.

"I was approached several times to stand for the Local Government and National Conferences which I duly did -not expecting to be successful in either, but as it turned out after the elections I was successful in both!

"I was also asked to stand for the committee called 'Standing Orders' which oversees conferences and ensures they are ran appropriately and again I was elected.  Although I realise it involves a lot of hard work I am so thrilled and honoured about these elections and being recognised in this way - on a personal level, a branch level and a Scottish level! 

" thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of being stretched, and meeting the expectations placed on me! Or putting it another way  'nae bad for an Aberdeenshire lass!'"                        


Kathleen's equalities role raises branch profile in Scottish and national disabled members' forums.

Kathleen Kennedy
Kathleen Kennedy

Branch Equalities Officer, Kathleen Kennedy is a member of the UNISON Scotland Disabled Members' Committee, which is a self organised group consisting entirely of disabled members who campaign on behalf of our disabled members to ensure that disability issues are given a voice within UNISON.

From the Scottish Committee Kathleen has now been elected onto the National Disabled Members Committee.

Kathleen said, "The National Disabled Committee has a key role to raise issues surrounding disability across the whole of UNISON. As a member of this committee I am also involved with organising the National Disabled Members Conference."

Kathleen will attend this conference and will co-chair the Women's Caucus meeting at the National Disabled Members Committee and National Disabled Members Conference.

Kathleen is also involved in two Disabled Women Members' Network Days and has been elected as one of the National Disabled Members Delegation going to the TUC Disabled Workers Conference.