Equalities the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Duty to Ensure Compliance ….. a Determined Approach

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2010 National LGBT Conference
30 July 2010
Carried as Amended

Conference, we deplore the unprecedented cuts in our vital public services and lament the shocking disregard for the compliance to the hard won advances in the Equalities agenda. Whilst the public sector duties apply primarily to public bodies they also have implications for private and voluntary sector organisations who deliver services on behalf of public bodies.

Whilst we celebrate the revision of the organising tools available on UNISON’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) website, which include the fact sheets on sexual orientation and gender identity, the campaign guide and the model statement on sexual orientation and gender identity. However, unless we as activists make use of them and actively work with our employers, these cuts to services will have a disproportionately negative effect on both LGBT workers, and service users who may be LGB or T.

It makes sense that these resources only have any value if they are used by activists and people like us, whether directly in negotiations, or by alerting our members and our stewards to their existence. Many of us participate in Joint Consultation Committee meetings (JCC’s), and these are ideal opportunities to engage in meaningful discussion, highlighting the positive long term financial implications around engagement with the Equality Duties. The contribution of Equality Officers who sit on Equality Strategy and Reference Groups is also important and to needs to be encouraged and supported.

Regional council events, pride events, respect festivals, and other equality celebratory events are ideal opportunities to promote UNISON’s excellent branch guidance on negotiating, as well as our LGBT bargaining fact sheets. It is imperative that we continue to raise awareness that LGBT rights are human rights.

We call on the National LGBT Committee to:

1.Maintain the validity, potency and relevancy of these important resources by updating regularly;

2.Liaise with the other Self Organised Groups (SOG’s), Service Groups, our Regional and Branch Equality Officers to respond to the challenge faced by the erosion of the Equalities agenda. The opportunity can be used as a recruitment tool;

3.Publicise the Equality Reps training to all our members. As well as the important legislative information, the training highlights the criteria around fair representation, and the fact that women, low-paid, part- time, black, disabled and manual LGBT workers are under-represented in our self organisation, as well as workforces more generally. Visibility is important, and right now it is these underrepresented groups that will be the first to be disadvantaged;

4.Conference further asks that the National LGBT Committee continues to work with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Scottish TUC to ensure that the Equality agenda is incorporated at all levels of its affiliations including in Europe through the European Trade Union Confederation and beyond in the International Trade Union Confederation.