Inclusion in our union – improving equality outcomes

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2018 National Delegate Conference
23 February 2018
Carried as Amended

Equality and diversity in our union is vital. Whilst we have a lot to celebrate and are seen at the front edge of equality policy and organising for equality with our self organised groups, there continues to be significant equality developments within our union, across employers and in our members’ workplaces.

There are higher proportions of women and people from black and minority ethnic communities in the workforce than ever before. The population is ageing, with many people either intending to or having to stay in work for longer and many trying to juggle work with caring responsibilities. There is greater recognition of the barriers that disabled people have faced in accessing work and in work, and the lack of awareness and discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people at work remains persistent.

Conference acknowledges that at this time we are making little progress on equality, which is increasingly seen as a luxury in the workplace, with employers barely abiding by the law. We know they can do more to promote equality in the workplace and it is unions who should be holding them to account.

Conference welcomes the annual equality survey of our members which in 2017 had its highest response rate of just under 12,000 responses but is concerned by some of the findings:

1)Nearly one-third of respondents said their employer did not keep them informed about its equality policies;

2)Nearly 40% of respondents had had not employer-organised equality training, and less than a quarter had had any such training in the past year;

3)A quarter of respondents had experience or had witnessed unfair discrimination in their workplace;

4)Over 40% of those who did not report an instance of discrimination cited fear of being picked on or being victimised, and well over a third thought the issue would not be taken seriously;

5)Only 40% of respondents requiring a reasonable adjustment at work said their employer had implemented it in a speedy and satisfactory manner.

Conference therefore calls on the National Executive Council to work with the self organised groups, regions and branches to:

a)Develop a forward looking equality strategy for the union;

b)Profile equality within the union, across all its communications strands;

c)Seek to influence government and the Labour Party on our equality strategy and building a more inclusive society;

d)Continue to develop guidance for branches on key areas of work on all aspects of equality including inclusive language;

e)Develop guidance and advice for branches to assist stewards to identify discrimination in the workplace;

f)Provide guidance to branches and sectors on reviewing employer equality policies, requesting and analysing workplace data (e.g. pay levels, equality training, reasonable adjustments, disciplinary and grievance) and seek to build an inclusive bargaining agenda with employers;

g)To use the branch Organising Framework to develop equality outcomes.