Standing together for equality

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2016 National LGBT Conference
23 September 2016

Conference notes that UNISON was founded on the principles of solidarity and equality. These principles are vital for our union and also vital for a strong society where all can thrive.

Conference is concerned about the voice and validation given to division and scapegoating in campaigning around the European Union (EU) referendum. The debate paid scant attention to the actual impact of EU membership, with much focus on Black communities and faith groups and on migrant workers from outside the EU. The post-referendum spike in hate crime is well-documented. As ever, the levels of unreported hate crime and the fear of hate crime far exceed reported levels.

Conference notes that Black and migrant lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers and LGBT workers from minority faith communities face particular vulnerability in this climate. They face a range of issues and may face more depending on the outcome of Brexit negotiations. For example, same sex couples where one partner is a non-United Kingdom (UK) EU national and the other is a third country (outside EU) national may not only lose the right to stay in the UK but on leaving, not have their partnership recognised elsewhere. There may also be issues for people seeking to leave abusive relationships.

Conference believes our response to this damage to community solidarity must be as broad in scope as the hate-filled claims that fuelled it.

Conference welcomes new materials from UNISON on standing together and challenging prejudice, encouraging members to have the confidence to speak up against racism in the workplace.

In this context, conference calls on the national LGBT committee to review and refresh its anti-far right strategy and materials, engaging regional LGBT groups in discussion and collating best practice campaigning, educational and organising examples.