Fighting the Cuts, Protecting LGBT Local Government Workers and Services

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2014 Local Government Service Group Conference
21 February 2014

Conference welcomes the groundbreaking report into the effects of austerity on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers and service users, including local government workers, commissioned by UNISON’s National LGBT Committee and funded by the General Political Fund (GPF).

The research, carried out by the well respected independent social research organisation NatCen, includes evidence of how the Tory led government’s austerity measures have affected LGBT workers in local government.

The report finds that reductions in funding of services due to austerity measures have led to:

1)Increased demand for services

2)Worse pay

3)Worse terms and conditions

4)Increased workloads

5)Low morale

6)Increased stress.

Unprecedented job cuts in local government workplaces mean the loss of specialist staff trained in LGBT issues and ever smaller numbers of staff expected to maintain the same or similar workloads for less pay in real terms.

The research also found a strong sense that LGBT equality was seen as a luxury – a ‘nice thing to do’ that could be dropped when times were hard. LGBT staff felt more marginalised and isolated and felt guilty for asking that attention be paid to LGBT equality. Equality training is being cut and there was a sense that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia were on the rise again.

The report highlights how in some of the worst cases, the cuts have led to LGBT local government workers relying on pay day loans and food parcels.

Conference believes these findings are an important campaigning tool for the local government service group as we continue to make the argument to the public that the Tory cuts to local government are having a detrimental impact on LGBT workers.

Conference therefore calls on the Local Government Service Group Executive, working with the national LGBT committee, to:

a)Disseminate the research findings as widely as possible.

b)Use the report as a tool in local government pay negotiations and in defending local government services.

c)Continue to fight for the retention of properly trained staff delivering specialist LGBT local government services.