The Deaf Bulletin 2019 Issue 8
Decent work for all, where are persons with disabilities in the workspace?
By Barbra Nyangairi
On the 22nd of August 2019, I attended the launch of a project entitled “Capacitating Trade Unions to Pro-mote Decent work for all”. As I sat through the project launch, I began to think about what decent work means for persons with disabilities. I realised that I was starting from the wrong premise. Where are persons with disabilities in the workplace? Research has shown that statistics on persons with disabilities are not easy to find. In Zimbabwe statistics on persons with disabilities in the workplace are even more difficult to find.
I began to ask a number of questions that we need to collectively find answers to. Where are persons with disabilities in the workplace? What challenges do they face? What have been their experiences in the work-place? Are employers ready to employ and support persons with disabilities? What are the barriers and op-portunities for employment for persons with disabilities? A number of these questions have not been asked and we need to begin to answer them. I realised that before we speak of decent work, we need to answer these questions.
Currently, Zimbabwe does not have laws that compel companies to employ persons with disabilities, hence the lack of preparedness to employ and the invisibility in the workplace. As a nation, we can only begin to discuss the notion of decent work for persons with disabilities when there is knowledge on the experiences of persons with disabilities in the workplace.
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