Broadening the Trade Union Movement’s Understanding of Equality

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2002 National Lesbian & Gay Conference
27 September 2002

Conference welcomes the increasing recognition of lesbian and gay rights as bread and butter trade union issues, evidenced by:

1.The solid body of UNISON policy and work on lesbian and gay equality;


2. ever increasing numbers of unions represented at the TUC Lesbian, Gay,

Bisexual and Transgender conference;

3. the success of the 2nd world conference of lesbian and gay trade unionists,

held in Sydney, autumn 2002;

4. increasing numbers of union affiliations to the International Lesbian and Gay


5. publication of guidance and training materials on negotiating for lesbian and

gay equality by two key union internationals – Public Services International

Education International.

Conference notes, however, that some unions and union bodies continue to work with a limited understanding of equality, such as relating it only to gender or gender and race. This is of particular concern given the formal status of unions as social partners, as highlighted in the European Union Employment Directive.

Conference welcomes the profile given to the role of unions in implementing the Directive at the 2002 Conference of the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA-Europe), as one step to addressing this. Conference further welcomes the UNISON proposal to the ILGA-Europe Conference on tackling hierarchies of equality in European Union legislation and the calls on the UK Government by UNISON and other unions to remove such hierarchies in UK legislation.

Conference instructs the National Executive Council to work with all parts of the union and through the TUC to promote a broad and inclusive understanding of union equality responsibilities. This should include work towards the European TUC and for the submission of a UNISON motion to the next Congress of the Federation of European Public Service Unions (EPSU), backed by similar motions from other UK EPSU members.