The following motion, which I drafted, was submitted by RMT and passed unanimously at 2013 Conference. It is included in the TUC handbook, Autism in the Workplace.
We note that autism is a neurological spectrum condition. Our society - including our workplaces - causes various difficulties to people on the autistic spectrum (diagnosed or undiagnosed), and to people caring for autistic people. Problems include: bullying; imposed changes to work routines; sensory overload; and difficulty getting time off or fixed hours when needed.
There have been appalling cases of discrimination against and mistreatment of autistic workers. Statistics suggest that just 15 per cent of adults on the autistic spectrum are in full-time employment – resulting from hostile employers and workplaces rather than inability to work.
We further note the serious impact that government austerity cuts are having on provision for children and adults with autism.
We resolve to challenge discrimination and negative portrayal of autistic people; educate and train trade unionists about autism; campaign for stronger anti-discrimination legislation; and work with appropriate representative organisations of autistic people.
We welcome the ‘Autism In The Workplace’ training developed by RMT and WEA, and ask the TUC to support its expansion and accreditation.
We ask the TUC to publish an ‘Autism In The Workplace’ handbook for trade union representatives.
We resolve to campaign for autism-friendly workplaces, recognising that the measures involved will benefit all workers.