The Impact of Self-Organisation on the Bargaining Agenda

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Conference
2002 National Lesbian & Gay Conference
Date
31 July 2002
Decision

Conference believes that the fundamental purpose of our self-organisation is to improve the working lives of lesbians and gay men. Conference notes that the tenth anniversary of the formation of UNISON provides an opportunity to assess the impact of lesbian and gay self-organisation on the union’s bargaining agenda.

Conference recognises that some progress has been made in securing lesbian and gay rights through collective agreements covering matters such as harassment, parental and dependent leave, criminal records and in some pension schemes. Conference believes that such progress would not have been made if lesbians and gay men were not active and organised within the union.

However, Conference notes that progress has not been consistent and there is a long way to go before all UNISON negotiators understand the equalities dimensions of every bargaining issue. Further, Conference believes that the increasing complexity and local focus of bargaining means that solutions will not be found by action at national/company level.

Conference recognises that the introduction of legislative protection for lesbian and gay workers in 2003 adds urgency to the need to make progress in negotiators’ knowledge of lesbian and gay bargaining issues. This must be tackled both by the greater involvement of lesbians and gay men as negotiators and information and training for all negotiators.

Conference instructs the National Lesbian and Gay Committee to initiate a debate with regional lesbian and gay groups, service groups and service group networks and the other self-organised groups on securing equality issues on all bargaining agendas. This debate should be practically focussed and look for ways to bring about immediate improvements. It will consider matters including the role of regional lesbian and gay groups and regional service groups; the role of sector committees and forums; improving the effectiveness and reach of guidance from national level; and ways to encourage and support lesbian and gay members to become involved in bargaining structures at all levels.