Equality at the Heart of our Union – Equal Means Making it Happen

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2008 National LGBT Conference
23 July 2008

Conference affirms that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality is an integral part of the organising and bargaining work of the union. Conference considers that UNISON’s Equality Scheme is a significant opportunity to achieve this.

The purpose of the Equality Scheme is to make sure that equality is promoted and discrimination challenged in everything UNISON does. Conference is proud that our union is the first to carry out such a comprehensive exercise. All parts of the union are involved in drawing up a positive agenda across eight strands of equality – gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, disability, religion and belief, age and low pay. Particular pieces of work also address other groups facing discrimination, such as migrant workers.

Regions and head office units have published three year equality action plans, out for consultation between the draft Scheme’s launch at National Delegate Conference in June and 31 October 2008. The National Executive Council and regional, service group and self-organised group committees are also required to audit their policies and functions and assess their impact.

Conference believes that all LGBT members active in any part of the union have a duty to get involved. We must work hard to ensure that LGBT issues are central to the Equality Scheme. Conference requests that the National LGBT Committee and regional LGBT groups promote opportunities for members to get involved in the Equality Scheme by:

1Looking at the Scheme, particularly the actions for their own region and service group;

2Responding to requests for involvement and information;

3If not apparent, asking what opportunities there are for involvement;

4Being involved in the monitoring of the scheme’s implementation;

5Making sure their own union work takes on board the principles of the scheme – positive actions to promote equality and auditing their work to assess its equality impact.

Conference further believes that LGBT equality is not just the responsibility of the National LGBT Committee or regional LGBT groups. LGBT equality is a core issue within the workplace and our union and the responsibility of every member. Conference calls on every LGBT member to fly the rainbow flag and organise to ensure that LGBT equality remains at the heart of our union.