Inclusive workplace policies in the Community Sector

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2019 Community Conference and Seminar
8 November 2018

Conference celebrates UNISON’s work over the past 25 years to promote women’s equality and participation and to tackle sexism and sex discrimination at work, in our union and across society. Like other service groups, the community service group has a majority of women members and our rules and practices to encourage women’s participation are vital to achieving our equality objectives. Likewise, in our negotiations, it is vital that we demand employers consider the impact of policies and practices on women workers and take active steps on equal pay and to tackle all forms of workplace discrimination. Considerations of gender and monitoring of women’s progress or experiences are key to much of this.

Conference notes however that an overemphasis on gender where gender has no relevance can have the unintended effect of reinforcing gender stereotypes, which can in turn reinforce gender job segregation and the glass ceiling and have no recognition for workers who do not identify as women or men.

There is increasing recognition that some workers do not identify as having a binary gender – as being solely male or female.

Conference believes that workers should be able to attend work according to their gender identity, whether this is female, male or non-binary. This may mean small but important changes to systems and facilities so that they are inclusive, such as:

1)Inclusive gender and title options in electronic records;

2)Removal of gendered language (such as he/she, sir/madam, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers) in policies and communications;

3)Non-gendered dress codes;

4)Gender neutral changing or toilet facilities.

Community establishments and workplaces that have introduced gender neutral private cubicles with open washing spaces have found that they increase users’ sense of safety and reduce graffiti. Sometimes this option can be introduced easily by designating some facilities as gender neutral. In other buildings, it will need a redesign, to ensure facilities that are safe and accessible and provide greater privacy, such as individual lockable cubicles rather than open plan communal changing rooms.

By becoming more inclusive for our members we also become more inclusive to the people we work with. It is to this end, that the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Committee consulted with its members who overwhelmingly supported a name change for the group to be called LGBT plus (+) although the remit of the group will remain the same, LGBT+ was felt to be a more inclusive term.

Conference calls on the community service group executive to:

A)gather good practice examples from branches organising in the community sector of inclusive policies and practices, including in record-keeping, language, any dress codes and in the provision of safe and accessible gender-neutral facilities;

B)promote good practice across the service group.

C)Promote the Gender equality: non-binary inclusion fact sheet to community branches

D)circulate the national LGBT committee’s briefing on becoming LGBT+, LGBT bargaining factsheets and how to be a good trans ally leaflet to branches organising in the community sector and encourage support amongst community members for any rule change to national delegate conference on the LGBT group becoming LGBT+