Linda Ford, Prospect equality representative, has been recognised by the Scottish Trade Unions Congress (STUC) for her work on disability awareness.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon presented the STUC equality award to Ford who works at The James Hutton Institute in Invergowrie, Dundee.
Ford’s work includes establishing a Dundee equality reps’ network and engaging with the Scottish government’s disability stakeholder events attempting to tackle the disability employment gap.
She has also pushed for employer to lead the way in equality proofing terms, conditions and policies rather than having add-ons.
For example, her work has resulted in the James Hutton Institute carrying out statutory equality impact assessments for policy changes, despite not being a public body.
Her work has also included changing the way that Prospect operates as she has campaigned for membership forms to include appropriate options for non-binary people. Her newest campaign is to see that all materials, printed or electronic, conform to accessibility best practice levels.
She said: “I feel gobsmacked, humbled and grateful to Prospect for nominating me for this award. I know the quality of equality reps out there who are fighting the same battles as I am, so it is an honour to be chosen to receive this award by the STUC.”
Mike Clancy, Prospect general secretary, said: “Linda is a great example of a trade unionist bringing the principles of equality, and ensuring they are practically implemented and engrained into the work place. Her enthusiasm and determination to ensure that equality is at the forefront of all decision making, sets an example to all employers and representatives involved in negotiating terms and conditions. Linda is a shining light for the practical value of collectivism in the work place.”
Grahame Smith, STUC general secretary, said: “Linda is a deserving recipient of the STUC equality award and her story shows the impact that effective trade union reps have on workplace and employer culture.”
Separately, STUC president Satnam Ner highlighted Prospect’s membership increases in his opening address of the 121st annual congress.
Ner, who is also a Prospect member, highlighted the work that all trade unions need to do to keep recruiting members to kick off the start of the conference.
He called on unions to modernise their methods of recruitment, while creating financial stability and holding on to “traditional socialist values”.
The value of diversity and representation in the trade union movement was also highlighted in the speech delivered at Aviemore. Ner urged delegates to look beyond the usual demographic as the trade union movement continues to try to evolve and grow.
STUC annual congress is taking place from 16 – 18 April. Ner’s full speech is available to read here: http://www.stuc.org.uk/news/1350/presidents-address-to-2018-stuc-annual-congress