Tackling transphobia in WET workplaces

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2013 Water, Environment & Transport Service Group
25 February 2013

Conference welcomes progress made by UNISON over many years in negotiating for equality in our water, Environment Agency and transport (WET) workplaces. However, conference is concerned that equality considerations fall down the agenda in the face of cuts, reorganisations and redundancies.

Conference is further concerned that transgender workers face particularly extreme discrimination when seeking work and once in work. To seek to avoid this discrimination, many people delay their gender reassignment for many years. However they pay a high price for this in terms of their health and well-being.

Conference notes that many WET managers are unaware of their responsibility to trans staff and prospective staff. Further, many of our WET workplaces do not have equality or anti-harassment policies that refer specifically to gender identity or gender reassignment. Nor do policies or practices address the particular issues that may arise for trans workers in relation to sickness absence policies, dress codes, criminal records checks and other pre-employment checks.

Conference calls on the WET service group executive, working with the business and environment equal opportunities working party and the national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender committee, to urge all WET branches to:

1)brief workplace reps and stewards, using the ‘UNISON introductory guide for union reps supporting trans members’, which provides background information and detailed advice

2)check their employers policies and practices against the good practice set out in the UNISON bargaining factsheet ‘Transgender workers rights’

3)identify where policy and practice falls short, support individual members and seek to negotiate improvements

4)report back on bargaining gains and successful cases to build our database of good practice.