Increasing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Activity Throughout UNISON

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2009 National LGBT Conference
31 July 2009
Carried as Amended

Conference believes that UNISON’s LGBT members should be encouraged to be active at branch, regional and national levels and to participate in the wider union structure subject to Rule C2, which defines the rights and benefits of each category of member. Conference believes that, were this to be achieved, it would make the union more attractive to LGBT members and workers, and to all workers who value a commitment to equality and diversity.

Conference is aware that there may be barriers that could stop members becoming active such as a lack of confidence, or a lack of supportive structures in their branch in which to gain experience. Conference is particularly aware of the need to encourage young LGBT workers to understand the importance of trades unions, to become members, to participate in their union’s activities and continue to fight for an end to discrimination faced by our LGBT members.

Also, conference recalls the resolutions of the 2005 conference about retaining active LGBT members to the end of their working lives and into retirement and the LGBT groups links with the retired members organisation.

Conference welcomes the fact that UNISON has already established workplace equality reps in three pilot regions. Conference looks forward to the pilots’ success and the spread of equality reps nationally. Conference sees that this new role gives further opportunities for members to be active within their own workplace and network with other equality reps and branch equality officers at local level.

However, Conference is concerned that, because of issues around visibility, acceptance, prejudice and the workplace environment – it can be more difficult for LGBT members to participate in UNISON’s branch, regional and national democratic processes or to take up roles such as steward, health and safety officer, convenor, branch secretary and so on.

Conference recognises that regional initiatives such as the LGBT Pathways training course piloted in the South West Region this year, with the aim of encouraging LGBT members to become involved in the union, both on LGBT issues and in other roles throughout the structures, can be of benefit to increasing LGBT activism in the union. Conference therefore instructs the National LGBT Committee to:

1.Contact regional LGBT groups to collate information about similar initiatives taking place so that such good practice can be shared;

2.Investigate the possibility of developing a Pathways into UNISON course targeted at LGBT members, similar to the course that is in existence for women.

3. Review the decisions of the 2005 conference and subsequent developments so as not to exclude older full members and retired members from this initiative.