Raising the bar on bargaining for LGBT equality

Back to all Motions

2015 National LGBT Conference
24 July 2015

Conference believes collective bargaining has a central role in delivering equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers. The visibility of UNISON’s work on LGBT equality in turn benefits recruitment and organising.

The Tory government is attacking our rights as workers and as trade unionists. We must strengthen our skills around the bargaining agenda so we are equipped to negotiate for our members wherever they are employed, particularly with increases in fragmented and outsourced workplaces.

Organising and representing the collective interests of workers are core to trade unions; promoting freedom from discrimination is one of our trade union movement fundamental values. Every union activity, not least equality, has organising potential. Evidence shows that more people want to be involved in a union that is seen to be actively combating workplace discrimination and promoting equality.

Now more than ever, we need to engage with commissioners and those holding the purse strings, be they statutory bodies or the voluntary and private sectors, to commit to pay a real living wage, embed the equality agenda, preserve terms and conditions for our members and seek to ensure hard-won trade union recognition and facility time is not lost in the “race to the bottom”.

UNISON is well placed to take advantage of the challenges and opportunities we face. We have established branch equality coordinators, self-organised groups and reps and workplace equality reps, who make an important contribution, providing specialist advice during collective bargaining. The support that all these equality reps can give to members and employers is invaluable. The cost of discrimination in the workplace is high to both our members and to the organisations. However, as our branches come under increasing pressure, we must work to increase the numbers of activists able to support and be involved in LGBT equality bargaining.

The erosion of our public services, including the National Health Service, schools, specialist and essential services, necessitates the use of the bargaining agenda. This includes active participation in consultations, reorganisations, outsourcing and transfer negotiations. In all this we must seek to enshrine the thinking that equality as a core principle not a luxury! The LGBT bargaining factsheets are updated every year and are a proven invaluable resource and tool in the collective bargaining process.

Conference therefore instructs the national LGBT committee to:

1. Encourage UNISON’s learning and organising services (LAOS) to promote our LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual), bi and trans bargaining factsheets in their training programmes;

2. Discuss with LAOS how LGBT equality is incorporated into training on collective bargaining;

3. Urge regional and branch LGBT groups to build training and involvement in bargaining amongst their members;

4. Highlight the factsheets to UNISON’s national committees, including service group executives and the national executive council to widen promotion;

5. Continue to promote our bargaining resources to regions and branches, alerting our members via LGBT communication channels when they are updated.