Getting Equality on the Bargaining Table and Winning it for Members

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2014 Water, Environment & Transport Service Group
21 February 2014

This Conference welcomes the work being done by the Business and Environment Equal Opportunities Working Group (BEEOWG) to promote the equalities agenda. Equalities have long been a priority with the WET Service Group.

Within the WET service group we have a long and proud tradition of fighting for equality for all our members. Over the years, within the WET Service Group we have used many different strategies: including campaigns, lobbying and bargaining to achieve our goals. However, government cuts are being used to undermine employment rights in the workplace particularly legal rights are being weakened through repeals to the Equality Act 2010, the statutory equality body being starved of resources, and interference in its role. Also the TUC found that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to negotiate on equality issues.

Inequality is growing whereby equality policies are being diluted; protected characteristics not being protected under the Act such as disabled people being managed out rather than employer providing reasonable adjustments, UNISON research into the impact of austerity cuts shows that LGBT, women and Black people being hit the hardest in society.

Conference affirms that as trade unionists it is our collective responsibility to ensure that equality remain at the heart of what we do and is incorporated into our bargaining agenda to facility equality of opportunity at work which can then bring about diversity in the workplace.

Conference believes that equality policies should be developed in partnership with trade unions, in particular any relevant implications for pay, pensions or conditions of service fully negotiated.

Conference therefore calls on the WET service group executive to keep equality on the national and local agenda by ensuring the inclusion of equality aims and demands in the national bargaining arenas covered by the WET service group.

Conference further calls on all WET branches to:

i) Seek to ensure that all policies include agreements on publicity, implementation and monitoring.

ii) Seek to ensure that when and where appropriate, all equality monitoring is shared with trade unions. Branches should refer to the UNISON LGBT Monitoring factsheet to ensure that monitoring is only used to help identify discrimination and build equality.

iii) Seek to ensure that employers assess the impact of any proposals such as restructuring, redundancies or changes in employment contracts with the trade unions before making any decisions.