Erosion of Equality and Trade Union Rights

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2011 National LGBT Conference
23 September 2011

onference notes that the Tory led government gives lip service to LGBT equality but behind the scenes is gradually eroding our hard-won LGBT rights, a situation only exacerbated by their simultaneous attack on trade union rights.

Conference condemns this government for refusing to implement in full Labour’s ground breaking Equality Act which for the first time gave public bodies a duty to take active steps to promote LGB and trans equality. The specific duties differ between England, Scotland and Wales, with the proposed duties for England weakened by this government, specifically to reduce the ‘burden’ on public bodies.

There is also no longer a legal requirement for public bodies in England to carry out equality impact assessments, which the government has characterised as meaningless bureaucracy.

Conference is concerned that employers may use this to shirk their responsibilities and that – without the backing of a strong union – LGBT workers may have little redress against breaches, and little hope of realising their rights under the Equality Act. Conference notes UNISON’s advice that carrying out equality impact assessments remains the best way to comply with the general equality duty.

Conference notes that public service unions and workers are seeing their rights eroded by the Tory-led Government – rights guaranteed under ILO conventions.

Conference is particularly concerned over proposals to:

1.Reduce the collective redundancy consultation period

2. Review TUPE rules;

3.Reduce the amount of compensation awards in discrimination cases

increase the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims.

Conference calls on the National Executive Council to:

A.Encourage branches and regions to monitor employers’ and service providers’ compliance with the equality duties, particularly in terms of restructuring, redundancies or cuts;

B.Campaign for the introduction of the Equality Act as originally intended and against further erosion of equalities;

C.Fight the erosion of trade union and employment rights;

D..Highlight the need for employers to use equality impact assessments to fulfil their equality duties;

E.Encourage regional, service group and branch negotiating teams to use the National LGBT Committee’s negotiating toolkit to push employers to promote LGBT workers rights.