These workers are far too often denied human rights and excluded in activities taken for granted by others.

This is a grave injustice to people with disabilities and robs communities of the benefits of their creative talent and productive potential.

Their concerns are often absent from policies, institutions and public services. Disability can be a normal part of the life-course for everyone, regardless of whether it arises at birth, from injuries, health conditions (including mental health), age-related conditions, or unsafe working conditions.

We fight for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of life, including the workforce and public services.



Stephen Hawking World-renowned Astrophysicist and Author

The more profit is extracted from the system, the more private monopolies grow and the more expensive healthcare becomes.

“Nothing about us, without us.”

Addressing disability is a key part of trade union action in fighting inequality and injustice and protecting the most vulnerable.

Understanding disability in this social sense also highlighted the importance of treating it in an intersectional way, particularly in relation to gender and socio-economic status. Disabled women often suffer higher incidences of violence against women.

People with disabilities comprise 15% of the world’s population.

PSI's work has generated a discussion within the ILO around the privatisation of public services which adversely affects persons with disabilities.

Recruitment in the public sector has a fixed process and anti-discrimination measures; often in privatized services this transparency is lost. Both in the provision of disability-specific services as well as accessibility/inclusion measures, privatisation has a negative impact.

New Disability Insurance Schemes, combined with privatisation of services, has in many cases not led to the increased choices it was designed to deliver. This differentiation especially happens across class or rural/urban divides. Sadly we see the same tendencies in many countries – with austerity measures hitting people with disabilities hard with sometimes fatal consequences.


Public services are key in improving the lives of people with disabilities.

Public health provision allows for increased tailoring for groups with higher health needs as part of broader social health initiatives.

Education programs can encourage integration, offer quality employment for disabled workers at schools and provide vital services for children with disabilities.

Public services that work for persons with disabilities are good for everyone – this is a key measure for building truly inclusive societies.

Disability by the numbers

Disabled people need quality public services to allow them to live a life of dignity and inclusion

1 billion

people experience some form of disability

50 %

cannot afford adequate healthcare

4x more likely

to be badly treated within the health system

We fight for the rights of disabled workers

We build a network for disabled trade union activists

Disabled workers need to have their own voice within the trade union movement

We analyse best practices

Inclusive policies matter, and we need to promote models that work for our disabled comrades

We fight privatization of public services for persons with disabilities

Privatization of public services for people with disabilities has a very detrimental effect on the quality of service and the lives of those that depend on them.

We expand trade union participation in global policy on disability issues

Trade unions need to work in close coalition with disability organizations

Key Documents

Take Action

Want to find an organisation defending workers with disabilities in your country or region?

Check out our list of affiliates or contact your local branch of the International Disability Alliance

Keen to learn more about the international protections for workers with disabilities which PSI helps fight for?

Check out the UN Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities and the ILO Convention 159 and their other work on the issue