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2016 Community Service Group Conference
5 November 2015

Conference notes the challenges of organising lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members in community, partly at least due to the way in which we are structured. Members may belong to a national branch, a bespoke community branch, a housing association branch, a health branch, a local government branch and/or a small branch. Where members have been TUPE’d over, they may be still be members of their previous branch.

Conference recalls that that Community conference has previously agreed motions on strengthening and building self organisation. We therefore welcome the introduction and promotion of confidential sexual orientation and gender history monitoring on UNISON’s membership database, the RMS, via My.Unison.

While monitoring in isolation does not equal change, its introduction as part of UNISON’s well developed LGBT equality work sends a clear signal that the union takes its LGBT members and LGBT equality seriously. This builds on the anonymous monitoring of LGBT participation in UNISON structures, conferences and activities such as training that has been practiced for a number of years. This expansion of My.Unison can encourage members to update other fields on the database where data is incorrect or missing, including ethnic origin, contact details and subs information. This is particularly vital in the light of government attacks on DOCAS.

Conference also notes that monitoring of sexual orientation and gender identity by community sector employers may be a mix of good and bad practice for LGBT members. UNISON argues strongly that the implementation of all policies should be monitored, including the impact on sexual orientation and gender identity equality. Whether or not employers should monitor the sexual orientation and gender identity of individual workers is a separate question. It should never be a first step, but should follow a programme of action on sexual orientation and gender identity equality. Staff should be consulted, the use of the data clearly explained, confidentiality guaranteed and questions should be optional.

Conference therefore calls on the Community Service Group Executive to:

1)circulate the bargaining factsheet ‘Workforce monitoring for sexual orientation and gender identity’ to branches within community;

2)advertise and promote engagement with My.Unison to branches within our service group, encouraging members to update their personal information, including completing the new sexual orientation and gender history fields;

3)revisit previous conference decisions of our service group on building and strengthening self organisation and produce an updated action plan to be circulated branches within community.