LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER WORKERS RIGHTS – THE AGENDA FROM HERE

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Conference
Lesbian,Gay,Bisexual & Transgender Conference 2005
Date
29 July 2005
Decision
Carried

Conference notes that since 1999 it has been unlawful to discriminate against workers on grounds of gender reassignment and since 2003 it has been unlawful to discriminate against workers on grounds of sexual orientation. We have also won further protections and rights in the workplace through the Gender Recognition Act and Civil Partnership Act.

UNISON campaigns hard for the protection of the law, but we note that few workers who experience discrimination want or feel able to take a case to employment tribunal. By July 2005, only two workers had won significant cases under the Sexual Orientation Regulations, both cases of extreme and prolonged harassment.

Rather than this deterring us, we reassert our belief in the importance of legislation not only for those who take cases but for all of us as an organising tool and negotiating lever.

Conference notes that there are still gaps within current LGBT employment legislation such as:

1.Workers are only protected from discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment, not on grounds of gender identity or gender expression;

2.The exemption for benefits dependent on marital (and now also civil partnership) status;

3.The exemption, albeit limited, for employment for the purposes of organised religion.

Further, where we have won legal gains, we must guard against these being used to undermine other workers rights such as:

A.Restricting gender recognition at work to only those transgender workers who have gained legal gender recognition certificates;

B.Limiting partnership and family rights to only those who register a civil partnership, undermining the rights of those who do not register.

Conference welcomes the adoption by the 2005 UNISON National Delegate Conference of a comprehensive resolution on LGBT workplace equality. Conference calls on branch and regional LGBT groups and the National LGBT Committee to press the rest of the union for this resolution to be turned into action, including:

I.Collective agreements to specifically include LGB and T workers and issues;

II.Employer-run anti-discrimination training to include LGB and T equality;

III.Encouraging members of our group to become workplace reps;

IV.Training of all UNISON reps in negotiating LGBT equality and representing LGBT members;

V.Ensuring LGB and T issues are included in work on service delivery.

Conference also calls on branch and regional groups and the National LGBT Committee to campaign for a single equality bill that will give full protection from discrimination and active equality rights across all strands, including sexual orientation, gender identity, gender reassignment, gender expression, marital status, family status and caring responsibilities.